Ondine Quartet Read-A-Long: Crest (Book 3)

OQReadALong Welcome to the Ondine Quartet Read-A-Long! Aeicha (assistant extraordinaire to those who haven’t met me yet!) here to guide you along during the event.

This is the perfect chance for you to re-discover the Ondine Quartet, read tidbits about each book from Emma Raveling, and engage and discuss with other readers.

Plus, you have the chance to win a really cool prize just for participating (see below for giveaway info)!

This is the final day of this awesome read-a-long and we are discussing Crest, the third book in the Ondine Quartet…

 

8709053478_666591a5a1_mIllusion. Power. Identity.
Tensions are reaching a fever pitch everywhere Kendra Irisavie turns.

Darkness settles over elementals as a new threat stirs suspicions of a betrayal from within. Details of recent events spread through Haverleau, prompting doubts over Irisavie leadership. The mysterious Selkie Kingdom finally opens its doors, but the gesture only fans the flames of division. And despite the perils involved, Kendra finds it difficult to ignore the demands of her heart.

As the body count rises, pressure also grows to shift the tides of war. The sondaleur is on the hunt, but tracking the Aquidae leader is the greatest challenge she’s ever faced. With the Shadow playing a deadly game of obsession and horror, Kendra’s best chance to win is to unravel a tangled web of deception spanning back to the origins of the elemental world.

Nothing is what it seems and the closer she gets to the truth, the more dangerous her pursuit for answers becomes.

When the unthinkable happens, Kendra must decide if survival is worth the sacrifice.

Conflicting loyalties, fierce passions, and irrevocable choices ignite in the electrifying third installment of the Ondine Quartet.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | IBOOKS | KOBO


DON’T FORGET TO PRE-ORDER THE SERIES FINALE!

Breaker_500Releases December 29, 2014

Add to GoodReads | Support on Thunderclap

Breaker, the fourth and final book in the Ondine Quartet, is available for pre-order now at the special price of $0.99 (release day price $4.99)!

Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks | Kobo

EMMA’S NOTE

As its title implies, Crest was a book in which many elements of the series came to a head. Based on the groundwork established in Whirl and Billow, the story ties together the threads introduced in the first two books and sets the stage for the finale.

Everything Kendra needs to face the Shadow comes to the forefront: her rise to political power, the issue of the Armicant and weapons design, the establishment of ondine combat training, and the assembling of allies.

In Whirl and Billow, Kendra’s journey was very much directed inward. Although she had to deal with the new environments of Lumiere Academy, Haverleau, and Lyondale, her life is still very contained. Much like any seventeen year old, high school and her hometown loom large for Kendra. They are her entire world.

In Crest, we see Kendra fully step into adulthood. In doing so, her world naturally expands and her journey begins to direct outward. Within the context of new settings, including New York and the Selkie Kingdom, she unearths a deeper understanding about the realities of the elemental world and the war through her interactions with other characters.

Through Renee and Catrin Bessette, Kendra not only sees a reflection of herself and how high the stakes are for her and Tristan, but also the way in which ondines remain caged. Despite their magic and political power, they are still bound by something they cannot control and as such, their lives are not fully their own.

Kendra sees the powerlessness and frustration of demillirs through the personal turmoils of Jeeves and Julian, through the disappearance of Gabe, and the broken, abusive relationship of Dylan and his father, Marquis Rosamund. Fatherhood is also examined through Jeeves, Ancelin, Marquis Rosamund, and of course, Kendra’s interactions with her own father in her dreams.

She witnesses the selkies struggle to face a possible future without war and what happens when a king stubbornly equates change to weakness.

With Lucas and Daniel, Kendra begins to understand the extraordinarily fragile position of humans and the true depth of their sacrifice in helping elementals. And through Helene and Dax, she observes the cost of war on youth and how loss robs them of a fundamental sense of security.

I’d known since my initial planning of the series that a good chunk of Crest would take place in the Selkie Kingdom and I had great fun writing it. But because I needed to bring together so many disparate elements, Crest was probably the most technically difficult book I’ve ever written.

There were also aesthetic considerations I wanted to explore. A lot of that can be seen through the mirroring and reflection motifs as well as the thematic layering employed throughout the story. The plot is one such example of. Like a nesting doll, the story was essentially a mystery contained within a mystery.

At the end of Crest, Kendra is set to embark on her final showdown with the Shadow. Breaker will pick up where book three left off. 🙂

FIRST THOUGHTS

Aeicha here again! As I’ve re-read these books, I’ve been comparing my initial thoughts, after my first read through, with my thoughts on each book now. The following first thoughts come directly from my review of Crest after I read it for the very first time!

The complex and rich history of the Ondines and Selkies and their enemies is explored and laid out even further and deeper in book three, and the social/cultural/political structures of this world continue to enthrall and fascinate.

When I first read Crest, I was so excited that a big chunk of the story takes place in the Selkie Kingdom, as this beautifully dangerous place is just so captivating. I’m still in complete awe of the Selkie Kingdom, but during my re-read, I paid less attention to its spellbinding physical beauty and more attention to how this Selkie world is run and how it is both alike and different from the ondine communities. I also focused a great deal more on the histories of the Shadow, Jourdain, and the Armicant explored in Crest, as they had such depth to the story and shed so much light on the bloody war being fought. And one aspect of the ondine world explored in Crest, that I don’t remember spending too much time thinking about during my first read, but that occupied my thoughts greatly during my re-read, is Renee choosing not to go through with a binding ceremony and being called back to the sea. There is something just so devastatingly heartbreaking, yet immensely powerful about her choice and how it affects Kendra.

Kendra especially has had so much thrown at her- being the sondaleur and the future Governor, being responsible for stopping the Shadow, and facing devastating losses

There are many deaths and losses (Marcella, Ewan, Sian, Renee, the Fredriksens, and more) in Crest *sobs* and, while they made me very sad during my first read, they affected me greatly during my re-read. I suppose after re-reading the series, I’ve come to care even more for these incredible characters and their deaths are hitting so much harder *sobs even louder*. Unlike my first read through, during my re-read I found myself all snotty crying over Ewan’s death at like midnight! Plus, I’ve come to understand just how much these deaths affect Kendra and the choices she makes.

I love both guys and they are each complete, layered characters on their own, but I’ve so enjoyed their interaction with Kendra since book one. I won’t spoil anything for ya, but I will say that in Crest Kendra is finally honest with herself and with the guys, and where her heart truly lies is revealed…

Romantically speaking, things, that I’m sure most of us have been waiting for, finally happen in Crest (hello cave scene!). I remember during my initial reading of Crest, just knowing that things between Kendra and Tristan were finally going to happen, so I think I paid less attention to the interaction between Kendra and Julian, both in NYC and in the Selkie Kingdom. But during my re-read, I paid more attention to the heartbreaking, profound, and revealing things finally said and realized by these two. Kendra is finally completely honest with both herself and the guys, and I think this helps make her romantic choices that more meaningful.

FAVORITE SCENES AND QUOTES

Favorite scenes:

    • the scene where Renee goes back to the sea and loses who she was: I mentioned above how this scene has stayed with me long after my re-read, and for good reason. It’s just such a breathtakingly painful, yet powerful moment and choice.

 

    • THE CAVE SCENE!!: Yeah, did ya really think this wouldn’t be one of my faves??

 

  • the last scene between Kendra and Tristan in the Selkie Kingdom: While the cave scene is hella hot, this scene, when they are finally honest with each other, is just so beautiful and makes my heart burst!

Favorite quotes:

    • ”It’s not a love triangle.” Helene hopped off the swing, camera once again focused on me. “A love triangle means someone’s caught between two choices. Seems like she already made her choice.” -Helene

 

    • After Eric, I thought this was all there was. A future of war and death. A life defined by duty and obligation. And then I met you.” He paused. “ You were a revelation.” -Tristan

 

  • I would’ve ravaged cities, cut through mountains, and torched the heavens to save him. He would’ve scoured the oceans, slashed through ten thousand Aquidae, and gone to the ends of the earth to find me. Always. -Kendra

LET’S DISCUSS

    • What were your first thoughts the first time you read Crest? How have those thoughts changed?

 

    • What’s your fave scene and quote in Crest?

 

    • Which do you prefer: the Selkie Kingdom or Haverleau?

 

  • Whose death or loss hit you the hardest in Crest?

 

For further discussion, download a detailed list of discussion questions for Crest>>

READ-A-LONG PARTICIPATION GIVEAWAY

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Comment and participate in each read-a-long post for a chance to win a custom bracelet featuring the covers of the Ondine Quartet! After you leave your comment, log your entry in the Rafflecopter below.

**Giveaway is open international. Winners will be notified by e-mail and must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be selected.**

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Check out the other Read-A-Long Discussion posts

Ondine Quartet Read-A-Long: Companion Works

OQReadALong Welcome to the Ondine Quartet Read-A-Long! Aeicha (assistant extraordinaire to those who haven’t met me yet!) here to guide you along during the event.

This is the perfect chance for you to re-discover the Ondine Quartet, read tidbits about each book from Emma Raveling, and engage and discuss with other readers.

Plus, you have the chance to win a really cool prize just for participating (see below for giveaway info)!

Today, we are exploring the OQ Companion Works: Ondine, Chevalier, and Warrior Prince.

OQ_CompanionWorks_500

**This collection is meant to be read after Billow (book 2)**

Emma Raveling’s short stories – Ondine, Chevalier, and Warrior Prince – featuring characters from the Ondine Quartet series are collected in print for the first time.

ONDINE, the series prequel, sheds light on Kendra Irisavie’s Rogue life in Los Angeles a month before the start of Whirl.

CHEVALIER, told from Julian LeVeq’s point of view, follows his complicated partnership with Kendra in New York City.

WARRIOR PRINCE delves into the mind of the mysterious Tristan Belicoux and features a collection of scenes from Whirl (Book 1) and Billow (Book 2) in his point of view.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO


DON’T FORGET TO PRE-ORDER THE SERIES FINALE!

Breaker_500Releases December 29, 2014

Add to GoodReads | Support on Thunderclap

Breaker, the fourth and final book in the Ondine Quartet, is available for pre-order now at the special price of $0.99 (release day price $4.99)!

Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks | Kobo

EMMA’S NOTE

I had so much fun writing these shorts! Ondine, Chevalier, and Warrior Prince were each intended to be character portraits, vignettes providing a different glimpse of key figures in the series.

Ondine explores something we never really get a chance to see in any of the main books – Kendra’s life with her mother while Rogue. So much of Kendra’s internal journey throughout the series is connected to the difficult, tumultuous relationship she had with Naida and her struggle to come to terms with what she’s been taught and who she’d like to be. This prequel gave me the opportunity to delve a bit deeper into our heroine’s past and the kind of trouble she often found herself in within the human world.

In Chevalier, New York City provides the perfect setting for Julian and Kendra’s adventures. The fast-paced, urban landscape suits Julian’s complex and very often contradictory personality (he describes himself in Chevalier as “a paradox”). He goes through women like glamour costumes, but his heart lies with one person. He’s intuitive and jumps headlong into risky situations, but has the patience and discipline to train Kendra. He’s a total smartass, but also surprisingly poignant…a poetry lover and bloody fighter all in one.

Julian hides behind a mask (both with his Projection magic and sardonic humor). But beneath his slick demeanor and fatalistic romanticism, lies a certain fragile vulnerability. Rejected by his family, an outsider within his own society, an anomaly because of his magic, he’s spent his life searching for a reason, a purpose, and hasn’t quite found his way yet.

Writing Warrior Prince was an interesting experience. Tristan is a person of few words. Over the years, he’s built a tremendous reserve of control. He prefers to observe, consider, and think before acting and his internal thoughts / monologues are so much stronger than what he says aloud.

Like other characters in this series, he is concealed behind his own self-constructed mask (in his case, one of duty), and his personal journey often mirrors that of our heroine’s. In many ways, he is just as constrained, as bound by his role/mission, his past, his inheritance, and parental and societal expectations as Kendra is. And within each other, they find something that they can hold on to. She is to Tristan what he is to her: beauty amidst horror, an unexpected hope found within the death and devastation of war.

 

FIRST THOUGHTS

Aeicha here again! As I’ve re-read these books, I’ve been comparing my initial thoughts, after my first read through, with my thoughts on each book now. The following first thoughts come directly from my reviews of the Companion Works after I read it for the very first time!

Ondine

I loved getting to meet a younger Kendra and seeing the life she and her mother lived while on the run from the elemental community.

The first time I read Ondine, I just loved getting such a thoughtful look at the life Kendra had with her mother and seeing why she is the way she is throughout the Ondine Quartet. During my first read through, Kendra’s adventures (and hottie hotness!) with Rui really stole my attention. But, during my re-read, I focused a great deal more on Kendra’s relationship with her mother, while trying to better understand Naida. Naida isn’t always an easy character to like, as she makes some very unlikable choices. Yet, this go round, I found myself sympathizing with her more and really understanding why she HAD to make the choices she did.

Chevalier

I love Julian’s POV in this novella and how we get to know him even better because of it. Julian has such a genuine and authentic charm, that I can’t help but love him.

Even when Julian is being a jerk-face, he is still such a fun character and my fondness for him hasn’t changed. I had so much fun reading this novella during my first read through. We get to see even more of Julian’s fun, savvy, yet thoughtful side. Yet, after re-reading Chevalier, I do see him a bit differently. During this read through, I paid a lot more attention to his inner dialogue and the way he sees and wants Kendra. His feelings for her are a lot more genuine and complex and, sadly, quite a bit selfish, than he lets on. And I think my re-read of Chevalier really confirmed my status as Team Kendra/Tristan…sorry Julian 🙁

Warrior Prince

Even though many of the scenes are ones I’ve read before from Kendra’s POV, they felt brand new in this novella, as they add so much complexity and so many layers to the story.

Warrior Prince was and still is my favorite OQ companion work! When I first read it, I just loved getting to see Kendra through Tristan’s eyes and exploring the depth and complexity of their relationship, from friends to something so much more. During my re-read, I tried to focus less on seeing Kendra through his eyes, and more on simply seeing Tristan. Like with Chevalier, Warrior Prince provides some wonderful inner dialogue and self-exploration. And knowing now what’s to come in Crest, particularly between Kendra and Tristan, makes the scenes in the selkie kingdom, where Tristan makes a difficult choice, that much more meaningful.

FAVORITE SCENES AND QUOTES

Favorite scenes:

Ondine

the scene where Kendra and Naida fight and Naida tells her that her father would be disappointed in Kendra: This is such a heartbreaking, yet powerful scene. And the power comes, not so much from what Kendra and Naida say, but from all the things they don’t say, but desperately want to.

Chevalier

the scene between Julian and Kendra in the subway station: I just love the fun easy banter between these two in this scene. Amongst all that war and heartache, it’s nice to see such a silly, warm moment in Kendra’s life.

Warrior Prince

the scene between Tristan and his little brother Dax: through his interactions with his little brother, we really get to see a glimpse into who Tristan used to be before Eric’s death.


Favorite quotes:

Ondine

”Sometimes what we need is good for us, Sometimes it’s not. But we all got something we’re addicted to, girl.” -Rui

Chevalier

Passing street lights rhythmically cast her face in light and shadow. Her clothes were ripped in several places and stained with sweat and blood. Unkempt hair flew around her face in a tangled mess and an ugly purple bruised marred her cheekbone. She was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. -Julian

Warrior Prince

It was only the two of us. At the cove. At the club. Wherever we were together.Tristan

LET’S DISCUSS

-What were your initial thoughts when reading the OQ Companion Works for the first time? How have those thoughts changed?

-What are some of your fave scenes and quotes in the OQ Companion Works?

-Which OQ Companion book is your favorite and why?

-We meet several new characters throughout the OQ Companion Works, some we see again in Crest and some we do not…which new character would you love to learn more about?

 

For further discussion, download a detailed list of discussion questions for Whirl >>

READ-A-LONG PARTICIPATION GIVEAWAY

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Comment and participate in each read-a-long post for a chance to win a custom bracelet featuring the covers of the Ondine Quartet! After you leave your comment, log your entry in the Rafflecopter below.

**Giveaway is open international. Winners will be notified by e-mail and must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be selected.**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other Read-A-Long Discussion posts

Ondine Quartet Read-A-Long: Billow (Book 2)

OQReadALong Welcome to the Ondine Quartet Read-A-Long! Aeicha (assistant extraordinaire to those who haven’t met me yet!) here to guide you along during the event.

This is the perfect chance for you to re-discover the Ondine Quartet, read tidbits about each book from Emma Raveling, and engage and discuss with other readers.

Plus, you have the chance to win a really cool prize just for participating (see below for giveaway info)!

Today, we are discussing Billow, the second book in the Ondine Quartet! Be sure to check out the Whirl Read-a-Long post too.

It’s also the last few days to enter ReaderFest for a chance to win the cave scene in Crest from Tristan’s point of view! Details on how to enter at the bottom of this post.

8054533078_2feb4b7d98_mTruth. Lies. Choice.
It has been six months since ondine Kendra Irisavie arrived in Haverleau, the hidden capital of the water elemental world.

Six months since she discovered her destiny as the sondaleur and a series of devastating events left behind their mark.

Now, as she enters the chevalier elite program in her final year at Lumiere Academy, Kendra continues forward on her prophesied journey against the Shadow. Obsessed with what she must do to keep those around her safe, she struggles to balance her powerful magic and the demands of her fate with the challenges of friendship, the complications of romance, and the bonds of family.

Meanwhile, the threat of the Shadow looms larger. Kendra and her friends investigate a series of puzzling human and elemental disappearances in the city of Lyondale and uncover a horrifying tactic used by the Aquidae in the war. When danger strikes close to home, Kendra must separate the truths from the lies and choose who and what to believe.

Even if it means facing what she fears the most.


DON’T FORGET TO PRE-ORDER THE SERIES FINALE!

Breaker_500Releases December 29, 2014

Add to GoodReads | Support on Thunderclap

Breaker, the fourth and final book in the Ondine Quartet, is available for pre-order now at the special price of $0.99 (release day price $4.99)!

Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks | Kobo

EMMA’S NOTE

Billow is the transition between the first half of the series arc to the second. It is the largo slow movement of a symphony, the passage of difficult character development. The title is not only a reference to a key aspect of the story’s mystery, but also to the expansion of Kendra’s journey as she come to terms with several deeply rooted unresolved issues within herself.

I structured the book around three main thematic ideas:
1) Passive acceptance versus active belief
At the end of Whirl, Kendra has reached a tenuous understanding of the prophecy and her fate. She has essentially snapped into soldier mode in order to protect herself from the overwhelming emotional turmoil thrust upon her.

Fulfilling the prophecy becomes a job, another objective like the countless other objectives she trained for with her mother. There is no room for emotion, reflection, or grey areas; there is simply the end result and whether she succeeded or failed.

Several people challenge her idea of what it means to be the sondaleur. Nexa and Jourdain confront Kendra with difficult questions of whether she is “hearing” or “listening”. One act is passive; the other is active. Tristan points out that choice doesn’t reside in the what, but rather in the why. Even Amber prods Kendra to re-examine her own prejudices.

In the end, Kendra must decide: will she passively accept her sondaleur fate simply because she has no other choice but to accept it? Or will she actively own it by choosing to believe in herself?
2) Vengeance and forgiveness
In Billow, Kendra is fueled by grief. What happens to Ryder at the end of Whirl triggers it, but a large part of her unresolved anger and guilt exists because she has never really dealt with her mother’s death.

Anger is Kendra’s mask. She hides behind it, uses it to control fear. And there’s a lot of it.

She fears she won’t live up to the expectations of others. She fears vulnerability and the further pain that may bring. She fears her failures and shortcomings as a person caused the deaths of her mother, of Ryder, and the attack on Marcella. She fears she will always be alone.

But most of all, she fears herself – what she is capable of, who she is becoming, and what her future holds.

Kenda has lost control of her life and is desperate to regain it. But the more she tries to manage and suppress fear, the greater the rage grows and vice-versa. Her inability to gain emotional control is also mirrored in her struggles with her powerful Virtue, an echo of her mother’s battle to master magic.

Kendra is right on the edge. Her fury over her perceived powerlessness and her rage at the unfair arbitrariness of death morphs into the thirst for revenge. She wants to make the person responsible for her pain suffer just as much as she has.

She hungers for this, not realizing that the person she is most hurting is herself. The only way to let go of the toxicity is by no longer hiding.

She has to learn to forgive herself.
3) Childhood / Adulthood
The appearance of Ian MacAllister, Kendra’s only friend from her life while Rogue, is the catalyst for Billow’s plot, which centers around the exploitation of innocents (human/elemental trafficking).

This intersection of childhood (the past, innocence, a world of black and white) and adulthood (power, responsibility, choice, a world comprised of shades of grey) is the heart of the story.

Kendra begins to search for answers from her own childhood and past. The truths about Naida’s time at Lyondale Hospital, about Ian’s friendship and his search for his father, and the reveal of Julian’s complicated and tumultuous relationship with his parents, all serve to further open the entrance into adulthood.

The characters begin recognizing their parents as more than simple authority figures; they begin to see them as complex individuals, each with their own flaws, dreams, and journeys.

This is also layered into Marcella’s arc. Pregnant with her first child, she and Gabe are on the cusp of a new chapter in their lives.

Marcella’s decision to become an elementary school teacher reflects a desire take a more active role in influencing the development of the next generation. It comes at a time when Kendra and her friends are nearing the end of that educational spectrum and facing the realities of adult life outside school. Kendra joins the Elites while her friends and classmates explore options through career internships.

At the beginning of Billow, Kendra is still clinging to what she has lost. Her attempt at control is an attempt to return her life to the black-and-white world she once knew. She wants things to be clear and easy – right or wrong, alive or dead, good or evil, succeed or fail.

By the end of Billow, Kendra finally accepts that that world was never real. It was only real to a youth who is now gone. She is no longer the person she once was.

With that realization comes another, very powerful one. Raised by a driven, hard mother for a purpose she knew nothing of, Kendra has also been an innocent victim of this war, just like Marcella’s students. She can now either flee from change or embrace it because nothing – not her past, the prophecy, the Shadow, or a devastating war – can dictate her future. That power lies solely within herself.

Her objective then switches from self-protection (shielding herself from further emotional damage and pain) to protecting others. Not just friends or those she cares about, but also strangers like Nick or innocents like Haverleau’s children.

This is a huge shift in Kendra’s perception and a giant leap forward in maturity. Kendra no longer identifies with who she once was – the child locked in a metaphorical cage, helpless and impotent against what happens to her.

She is choosing to be a part of this war, choosing to accept the heavy consequences of power both as sondaleur and later as heir to the Governor. She does this not because she has to, but because she is fighting for something greater than herself.

The moment Kendra makes that decision in the Lyondale factory, she not only becomes an adult, but also truly comes into her own as the heroine of this series.

 

FIRST THOUGHTS

Aeicha here again! As I’ve re-read these books, I’ve been comparing my initial thoughts, after my first read through, with my thoughts on each book now. The following first thoughts come directly from my review of Billow after I read it for the very first time!

The world-building I loved so much in Whirl is laid out even further and deeper in Billow and the political/cultural/societal world of the ondines continues to be intricate, complex, and intriguing.

When reading Billow for the first time, I remember loving how much deeper and further the world of ondines is explored and how much we learn about this complex society. So, when doing my re-read I found myself paying closer attention to this aspect of the book and series’ world-building and, unlike my initial reading when I focused on seeing this world through Kendra’s very entertaining eyes, I focused a great deal on seeing this world from the point of views of other characters. Characters like Marcella, Rhian, Chloe, even Amber, because they each provide such a unique and integral perspective on their world. In particular, during my re-read, I spent a lot of time analyzing and thinking over Rhian’s role in this world, her actions, and her choices because I think it’s something Kendra begins to do once she starts to really understand and get to know her grandmother.

Our heroine, Kendra, faces a very intense and raw emotional journey in Billow and I love how realistically she reacts to her situation.

My thoughts on Kendra’s journey in Billow haven’t changed and I found my heart still hurting for her so much during my re-read. However, like seeing the ondine world through other characters’ perspectives, I spent more time thinking about different characters during my re-read. Chloe, Aubrey, Marcella, Ian, etc have such major things happen to them in Billow and they all go through their own powerful emotional journeys, and I’ve really come to appreciate their stories and purposes outside of Kendra. My thoughts on Chloe especially evolved during my re-read, as I was initially quick to judge her actions in Billow as reckless and thoughtless, but found myself understanding her choices and mindset a lot more as I re-read it.

I really like the villainy of the Shadow and its Aquidaes because these are “bad guys” that aren’t just fun to hate, they’re actually incredibly fascinating.

The first time I read Billow, I walked away very intrigued by the Shadow and his minions because they weren’t boring bad guys, but offered a complex type of villainy. During my re-read, I found myself almost equally enthralled with the Shadow (even though we only meet his representatives) as I was with Kendra’s journey to defeat him. Knowing what deadly moves the Shadow makes in Crest, made me that much more desperate to search for clues about his identity in Billow.

FAVORITE SCENES AND QUOTES

Favorite scenes:

      • the scene between Gabe and Kendra, when he tells her he and Marcella want her to name their baby and where he calls Kendra family: this scene still both warms and breaks my heart knowing what’s to come for Gabe and Marcella. But this is a moment Kendra needed so badly, a moment to be reminded that she is loved for just being Kendra and not for being the sondaleur.

 

      • when Kendra is chosen as an elite recruit: this is such an important and powerful moment for both Kendra and readers. This is a moment Kendra has worked so hard for and means so much and that she deserves and it just makes me wanna give her the biggest fist bump and “You go girl!”.

 

    • the kiss between Kendra and Tristan in the factory during the bloody showdown: of course I have to include a kissing scene between these two because Ohemmgee *fans self*. This kiss is so much better than their first, it has more heat, passion, and meaning, and just sizzles off the page.


Favorite quotes:

      • ”No one person can make you happy, Kendra, But love doesn’t have to make you weak. It can make you stronger.” – Marcella

 

      • ”Part of being strong means acknowledging when we are weak.”- Nexa

 

    • There is so much horror and pain in our world. Sometimes, the only thing we can do is hang on to the beauty. It reminds us we’re still alive. – Tristan

LET’S DISCUSS

    • What were your first thoughts the first time you read Billow? How have those thoughts changed?

 

    • What is your fave scene and quote in Billow?

 

    • In Billow, seniors at Kendra’s school choose afternoon internships, like in the Tech Department; State Department, Education, etc. Where would you choose to intern at?

 

  • At the end of Billow, Kendra chooses Julian to accompany her to New York…who would YOU have chosen if you were in her shoes and why?
For further discussion, download a detailed list of discussion questions for Billow >>

READ-A-LONG PARTICIPATION GIVEAWAY

bracelet
Comment and participate in each read-a-long post for a chance to win a custom bracelet featuring the covers of the Ondine Quartet! After you leave your comment, log your entry in the Rafflecopter below.

**Giveaway is open international. Winners will be notified by e-mail and must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be selected.**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

OQ_Readerfest_NoClickREADERFEST: LAST FEW DAYS TO ENTER!
Fan of the Warrior Prince and active on social media? Then be sure to participate in this online event running until November 21.Fifteen lucky readers will receive the cave scene in CREST from Tristan’s point-of-view!

This giveaway event is open internationally and will end November 21. Winners will be notified by e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond. The scene will be sent in e-format (Kindle, epub, or PDF) on November 27.

Click here to enter READERFEST >>

Previous Read-a-long Posts:

Ondine Quartet Read-A-Long: Whirl (Book 1)

OQReadALong Welcome to the Ondine Quartet Read-A-Long! Aeicha (assistant extraordinaire to those who haven’t met me yet!) here to guide you along during the event.

This is the perfect chance for you to re-discover the Ondine Quartet, read tidbits about each book from Emma Raveling, and engage and discuss with other readers.

Plus, you have the chance to win a really cool prize just for participating (see below for giveaway info)!

Now, let’s kick off this read-a-long with Whirl, the first book in the Ondine Quartet…

6124063444_3b64ddef7b_mMagic. Secrets. Destiny.

Outspoken and independent, Kendra Irisavie has always played by her own rules.

She’s an ondine, a water elemental gifted with the powerful magic of Empath Virtue and trained to be a fighter. Pursued by Aquidae demons, she and her mother remain Rogue, hiding among humans to avoid becoming casualties in an ancient war.

Everything changes when violence erupts on Kendra’s seventeenth birthday. A dark stranger appears, promising answers to her mysterious past and stirring unexpected feelings in her fiercely guarded heart.

But as Kendra uncovers the truth about her heritage and future, she realizes just how deep the lies and deception run.

Now, in the face of unthinkable odds, she will need all her wits, skills, and magic to fulfill an extraordinary prophecy.

The first in a sweeping urban fantasy series, Whirl is the beginning of a young woman’s exhilarating journey for survival, love, and hope as she fights for her place in a world where she doesn’t belong.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | IBOOKS | KOBO


DON’T FORGET TO PRE-ORDER THE SERIES FINALE!

Breaker_500Releases December 29, 2014

Add to GoodReads | Support on Thunderclap

Breaker, the fourth and final book in the Ondine Quartet, is available for pre-order now at the special price of $0.99 (release day price $4.99)!

Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Apple iBooks | Kobo

EMMA’S NOTE

I spent a few months putting together the world and series arc before writing Whirl. Part of the challenge in writing a series with a huge storyline like the Ondine Quartet is pacing. How do I effectively lay out each part of the story?

My goal was always to have each book crescendo toward the finale. Each installment would progressively darken and grow in scope as Kendra reached the culmination of her journey. I also wanted each book to feel complete in and of itself while also moving the overarching series plot line forward.

With those factors in mind, I had two main priorities while writing Whirl.

The first was to establish a strong foundation upon which to build the rest of the books.

The first installment of a series is always hard to write because of the elements involved. Not only do authors need to present a new cast of flawed characters that readers can empathize with and trust, but we also need to convey the larger stakes involved and set up a believable world. This means rules and mores, a society with its own cultural legacy, history, and governance that reflects the world’s values.

Whirl essentially acts as an exposition to the series arc and creating a convincing narrative hinged upon people believing in Haverleau, its magic, and each character’s journey through that world.

In order to follow the arc to come for each of the important players (Kendra, the Shadow, Tristan, Julian, Jeeves, Rhian, Marcella, Nexa, Chloe, Aubrey) and ensure the satisfactory confrontation between Kendra and the Shadow in Breaker, I needed to ground each character’s place in the elemental world. Solidly defining who they were – their perspectives and emotional state – would make it easier for readers to follow their respective journeys throughout the series.

I ended up shifting things around a bit from my original outline to make it work. For example, certain characters and motifs I wanted to introduce in book 1 were pushed to book 2 simply because it made the story too bulky.

Establishing solid footing was also challenging because the protagonist was entering the elemental world for the first time.

When the main character is already entrenched in an existing world, the initial resistance a reader encounters in believing the narrative is greater. Being thrust into a complex setting can be jarring and it may take a bit longer to accept everything before becoming fully immersed in the story. But once that first hurdle is overcome, it’s easy to go along with the flow.

But when the main character discovers the world as the story progresses, the initial resistance lessens because the reader uncovers and learns how things work alongside the narrator.

This way of gradually immersing the reader into the world presents its own set of challenges. World-building wasn’t just an initial complication but rather an element I had to be concerned with throughout the book and series.

I remember spending countless hours trying to figure out how to make it work. Weaving the elements of a complex world and magic system within the story’s thematic and emotional arc, character development, plot, and sub-plot was difficult and quite the challenge.

The second priority for me while writing Whirl was to effectively communicate the thematic arc of the story.

The progression of Kendra’s character development throughout Whirl illustrated one overarching idea: the loss of innocence.

At the beginning of the book, Kendra knows who she is and the general trajectory of her future. She may harbor anger and a deep-rooted resentment toward the constraints of that life, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is the only life she knows. There’s a certain degree of security in that, a kind of stability within its instability.

Some part of her believes her mother will always be there to argue and push her until she comes of age. She knows Naida. Their relationship is uneasy, tumultuous. But it’s also all they have.

After San Aurelio they would move to another city, another home and school. Eventually, her mother would finally deem her capable of going out on patrol and she would have her opportunity to participate in a war she’d trained for her entire life. Of course, Kendra thinks she already has the skills and abilities necessary to do so. After all, she’s been outsmarting and winning against humans for years.

These beliefs provide the lens through which she views the world and validates her understanding of her place within it.

At the end of the book, every one of those beliefs is shattered. The majority of what Kendra has accepted to be true about her life is a lie, including her place and purpose in the world.

The youthful illusion of safety, security, and invincibility is stripped away revealing the world as Tristan, Rhian, and her mother see it. She finally understands the enormous stakes of this war.

The dismantling of Kendra’s beliefs naturally causes a significant shift in perspective. Her new position as sondaleur comes with a responsibility that directly conflicts with everything she’d been taught. The prophecy and Haverleau (with its rules and classism) challenge her notion of freedom, her ideas about individual will within the context of a societal whole, and the concepts of choice and destiny.

These staggering realizations open up a host of complex (and adult) emotions: guilt, fear, anger, grief. Like her Virtue, Kendra is forced up against a powerful emotional turmoil she is not yet equipped to deal with.

Because in spite of the unrelenting hardness with which her mother raised her, in spite of the years of harsh training and the tough mask she wears, Kendra cannot change the fact that she is seventeen. The life and future she was so certain of is yanked away, leaving her to face the reality of war and its emotional and mental consequences.

The loss of this youthful innocence becomes the first step in her coming-of-age journey.

In Whirl, everything spins out of Kendra’s control. For someone who has spent a lifetime learning to manipulate people as well as her environment, it’s the most terrifying feeling in the world.

At the end of the book, she’s determined to regain control and that mindset sows the seeds for what is to come in book 2.

FIRST THOUGHTS

Aeicha here again! As I’ve re-read these books, I’ve been comparing my initial thoughts, after my first read through, with my thoughts on each book now. The following first thoughts come directly from my review of Whirl after I read it for the very first time!

I love how Raveling took a fantasy/mythical being- the ondine- that has not been explored much in YA books, and created such an intricate and fascinating world around it.

I remember being most impressed and captivated by the world-building (the fantasical, physical, and emotional). Throughout my first read I was so struck by how unique, fascinating, and real the whole ondine world felt. That awe of this world hasn’t changed, but I noticed that during my re-read of Whirl I focused more on the intricacies, detailed history provided, and social/political structure of the ondine community, and really thought about how all these things affect and propel Kendra’s story. One of the things I remember being fascinated the most by in Whirl are the ondine Virtues. Initially, I just saw these Virtues as wicked cool powers and wanted them all, but during my re-read I found myself really dissecting their uses, possibilities, and flaws.

I instantly connected with Kendra and found her to be a relatable and impossible to ignore. Kendra’s new friends, Chloe, Aubrey, Ryder, Cam, and Alex provide an eclectic and refreshing reprieve for both Kendra and readers alike.

I loved our fierce heroine from the beginning and that love has only grown! Yet, during my first read through of Whirl, I loved Kendra for her badass ways, snarky wit, and independent attitude, and, while I still love these things about her, re-reading the book has allowed me to find and appreciate other aspects of her, particularly her flaws. Kendra’s friends and the refreshing camaraderie they provided her was something I loved most about Whirl. Of course I still adore the friendship and relationships each of these characters has with Kendra, but now I have a deeper appreciation for who each of these characters are outside of Kendra. While re-reading Whirl, and of course knowing what’s to come for these characters in books two and three, I focused a lot more on their individual stories and purposes.

Two of the most intriguing characters are the charming Julian and the mysterious Tristan, both of whom make for very different romantic interests for Kendra…The chemistry between these two sizzles right off the page and is enticingly hot. Both men are completely swoon-worthy and I cannot wait to see how this little love triangle progresses.

Of course I was instantly enamored with these two men my first time reading Whirl and my feelings for them haven’t changed! Even after knowing where their stories take them in Billow and Crest and how their individual relationships will progress and evolve with Kendra, during my re-read I still found myself swooning over both guys, still completely charmed by Julian and desperate to crack Tristan open and discover everything about him.

FAVORITE SCENES AND QUOTES

Favorite scenes:

    • Any scene between Kendra and Ryder: I loved the friendship between these two the first go round and now, knowing what happens *sobs*, these scenes mean even more.

 

    • Kendra and Julian’s first meeting: I love the way Julian unnerves Kendra, something people rarely do.

 

  • That scene between Kendra and Tristan on the beach: hello hotness *_*


Favorite quotes:

    • Only I could shout, insult, and make pointed remarks at the Prince of the Selkie Kingdom, the Head Chevalier, the Headmaster of my new schools, and the Governor of Haverleau within the first few minutes of arrival.– Kendra

 

    • Regardless of what every other ondine here thought, I was a shark, not a swan. – Kendra

 

  • There is so much horror and pain in our world. Sometimes, the only thing we can do is hang on to the beauty. It reminds us we’re still alive. – Tristan

LET’S DISCUSS

    • What were your first thoughts the first time you read Whirl? How have those thoughts changed?

 

    • What’s your fave scene and quote in Whirl?

 

    • Who is your favorite character in Whirl and why?

 

  • We learn a bit about each Virtue and how it can be used in Whirl. Which Virtue would you want the most?
For further discussion, download a detailed list of discussion questions for Whirl >>

READ-A-LONG PARTICIPATION GIVEAWAY

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Comment and participate in each read-a-long post for a chance to win a custom bracelet featuring the covers of the Ondine Quartet! After you leave your comment, log your entry in the Rafflecopter below.

**Giveaway is open international. Winners will be notified by e-mail and must respond within 48 hours or another winner will be selected.**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

OQ_Readerfest_NoClickREADERFEST ALSO BEGINS TODAY!
Fan of the Warrior Prince and active on social media? Then be sure to participate in this online event running until November 21.Fifteen lucky readers will receive the cave scene in CREST from Tristan’s point-of-view! This giveaway event is open internationally and will end November 21. Winners will be notified by e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond. The scene will be sent in e-format (Kindle, epub, or PDF) on November 27.Click here to enter READERFEST >>

Check out the other Read-A-Long Discussion posts
Billow

Companion Works

Crest

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