Title: Aerisia: Land Beyond The Sunset
Author: Sarah Ashwood
Rating: 2 Stars
“Hannah’s college plans didn’t include becoming the savior of a parallel world and getting tangled up with an immortal warrior…
The mystery of other worlds is not one Hannah Winters ever dreamed she’d solve. She also never counted on meeting an elderly stranger bearing an enchanted moonstone during her evening run; a stranger claiming to have crossed from another world in search of that realm’s promised deliverer.
Protests have no sway with the visitor, and Hannah finds herself transported to Aerisia, a mysterious land beyond Earth’s sunsets. Here, Hannah is believed to be the Artan, a legendary heroine prophesied to oppose the dreaded Dark Powers. Majestic fairies, the immortal Simathe, and the peaceful Moonkind are all willing to help her discover her true identity, but Hannah’s just an ordinary college student from Earth. She doesn’t have any latent magical abilities and she’s not the Artan.
Unfortunately, her allies aren’t seeing it that way. Neither are her enemies. In fact, Hannah’s life is in jeopardy from the moment she arrives in Aerisia, which means becoming the Artan may be the only way to survive…”
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My Review – **spoilers and TW for rape**
This is one of those books I really wanted to like, but struggled. The language is lovely, easy to read and completely free of errors, as far as I noticed. But the story was uneventful and the protagonist barely likable.
Aerisia: Land Beyond The Sunset follows Hannah, a normal college girl living in a small American community. When she is abducted by a wizard through a magical vortex, she ends up in Aerisia, a fantasy world in great peril. Shortly upon arrival she learns that she is The Artan, who has been prophecised to save their world. She must also participate in a Joining with a High Chief of a race of Aerisia – Simanthe.
Hannah is taken to the home of the Simanthe to Join with the High Chief, Ilgard, and to learn all the skills she needs to become worthy of the title Artan.
The biggest flaw this book has, is that barely anything happens. The antagonist comes to her in a dream to tempt her to the dark side when she first arrives, and she refuses. What follows is about fifteen chapters of exposition, which Hannah listens eagerly to, despite having just arrived in this world. Shortly after the exposition ends, Hannah tries to escape, citing that she wants to go home. While something dramatic does happen to her after she escapes, she is rescued quite easily.
A lot of mundane actions are given too much attention in this book. While there’s hardly any action, there are too many scenes, and whole chapters in some cases, in which Hannah is getting dressed or eating a meal. The huge amount of exposition in the first third of the book eventually doesn’t even serve a purpose because barely anything happens.
Similarly, the end climax is fleeting and with no real stakes. The antagonist tries to remove Hannah’s status as the Artan by raping her, because the Artan must be a virgin. The moment he declared this, I already knew Hannah would be rescued without any consequences. Would the book have set up her status as the Artan just for her to become ineligible right at the end? Probably not, and if so, what did we read this book for?
What little drama can be seen in this book is usually as a result of Hannah’s attempts at escape. Even after the first time, when she is attacked, she still thinks sneaking off into the unknown fantasy world is a good idea. It’s hard to feel empathy for Hannah because it’s difficult to like her. She is rude, tries to be stubborn but often gives in quite easily, and does a lot of silly things that she thinks will make a difference to her situation, but it’s plain to see they won’t, from a reader perspective.
The cover looked amazing, so I thought I had struck lucky when I picked this book up for free. But unfortunately, this first book does not compel me to pay for the sequel. With a good look at story structure, this book could be a good read one day. But I just couldn’t enjoy it and won’t be reading further.
Thanks for reading! Did you know I also write urban fantasy books? Check them out here!