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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Aether Bound by Megan Haskell is the first book in the Rise of Lilith series. Lil has a gift - she can see the desires of others. She has worked to keep her secret as she serves drinks at a beach bar where her co-workers have made her feel as if she belongs, especially a fedora-wearing musician. This provides the perfect location for Lil as she uses her abilities to read the desires of the various patrons while she has a running banter with the other characters. Everything is relatively perfect but when her older brother Ezra disappears during a storm, no one will believe that something is wrong. With everyone shrugging off her concerns, Lil takes it upon herself to search for her brother and is swept into a journey that takes her to the Unseen realm where she must face off with a god who has a diabolical plan.
Family drama is at the root of this story which involves the complexities of forgiveness and fixing past mistakes. In Aether Bound, Megan Haskell explores these elements through an honest approach that finds Lil struggling to face the source of her past trauma. Lil's journey into the Aether realm weaves the story into a vivid mythological setting that uses the gods to explore the concept of higher emotions such as love, family, and friendship. These themes are examined through an interesting juxtaposition between Lil risking her own life by going into this realm to find her brother and one of the gods fixing a mistake by physically altering a character. Her journey is set against a rich background that breathes life into vibrant mythology with an Aether spirit realm filled with an assortment of demons and gods. Saving Ezra is at the root of the journey as Lil follows a path that explores love, family, forgiveness, and loyalty set against lovely mythology.