Thursday, April 4, 2013

Elemental by Antony John [Review]

Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal, Adventure
Publication.Date  November 21st 2012 (Hardcover edition)
Published By:  Dial
WebsiteAntony John 

My review copy:Review copy received from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

A lost colony is reborn in this heart-pounding fantasy adventure set in the near future . . .

Sixteen-year-old Thomas has always been an outsider. The first child born without the power of an Element—earth, water, wind or fire—he has little to offer his tiny, remote Outer Banks colony. Or so the Guardians would have him believe.

In the wake of an unforeseen storm, desperate pirates kidnap the Guardians, intent on claiming the island as their own. Caught between the plague-ridden mainland and the advancing pirates, Thomas and his friends fight for survival in the battered remains of a mysterious abandoned settlement. But the secrets they unearth will turn Thomas’ world upside-down, and bring to light not only a treacherous past but also a future more dangerous than he can possibly imagine.


"And you," she spat, turning her attention to Alice, "you ask too many questions."
Alice met her gaze and didn't blink. "And get too few honest answers." 
Was it any consolation for Griffin to know that his limp wasn't his fault? Or his deafness? Or those sinister visions that kept everyone at arm's length? No. Griffin and I were more than brothers. We were the colony's outcasts, the constant reminders that not everything is created perfect. Knowing it wasn't my fault didn't change that at all.
"Why are you doing this, Thom? You fixate on our elements, like they're all that matter. You just make it easy for Kyte and the others to bring you down."
Rose bristled. "My father works hard for the colony."
"Everyone works hard for the colony. Including Thomas. But all your father ses is a boy with no element. Whereas I see a carpenter and a tracker. I see someone who notices contours on the beach, channles in the sand, wekaness in the cabins." She licked her lips and spat black residue into the fire. "Relying on our elements has made us careless - your father most of all." She looked up at last, and met my eyes. "I'm more than just my element; and if you had one, you would be too. Don't forget that."
She turned to face me, eyes narrow and intense. "What are you thinking?"
"I'm thinking that you're like a storm," I answered honestly.
We stared at this relic of a world we could never know. It was fascinating, but alarming too. Plague to the west. Pirates to the east. How long could we really hope to survive? 
"Funny, isn't it? The more cynical you get - the more you doubt everything - the closer you get to the truth.

     Elemental had me glued to its pages from the get-go. It's a thrilling adventure that sparkles with emotionally powerful moments, stunning visuals and eye-popping plot twists. This story really has it all: a phenomenal post-apocalyptic setting, long buried secrets, ruthless villains (that you'll just love to hate!) and characters you'll be cheering for. The best part? The unique, fresh plot line that is just as mysterious and exciting as it is thought-provoking and moving. Trust me, you won't be able to put it down! 

     When many years ago the Plague spread across the globe, a small group of people had taken to the ocean in a desperate attempt to escape its deadly embrace. The small colony settled down on a remote island (Hatteras). The members of the colony - the Guardians and their Apprentices - all possess the ability to read and manipulate air, water, fire or earth. They use it to find food, summon fire and predict the violent storms that often hit the island. Our lead protagonist, 16-year-old Thomas, is the only one born without an element. 

     When yet another storm is about to unleash its fury on Hatteras Island, the kids (accompanied by Guardian Lora) end up waiting in out on a neighboring island. Things quickly go South from there: Guardian Lora passes away during the storm, all the other Guardians disappear without a trace, and a band of pirates invades their island, burning their colony to the ground. And they are now after the kids. To survive, Thomas and his friends first need to learn the truth about the Plague, their colony and themselves. 

     Elemental is - quite simply - a really awesome book. The plot line is well thought out, original and captivating. Full of secrets and mysteries, it really keeps you on your toes all the way to the end. Essentially, it's a great survival story, with a splash of romance and a sprinkle of paranormal, set against a beautifully described, intriguing backdrop. I absolutely loved it!

     What I really loved about this book were the characters and the intertwining relationships between them. I loved Thomas - he was such a fun character to follow! Even though he was the only one without an element - which was obviously very hard on him - he did not complain about it or feel sorry for himself. He worked hard for the colony, trying to help out in as many ways as possible. Despite growing up without a mother and being constantly pushed away by everyone, he seemed cheerful and hopeful. I genuinely liked him and thought he had a very positive attitude and good personality. Same goes for Alice. What an incredible girl she was! Fierce, sharp, resourceful, direct, kick-ass and unstoppable, she was ready to fight for the truth. She was honest, thoughtful and brave. And even though she was one tough chick, she was also sensitive to other people's needs and very caring. I absolutely LOVED the chemistry between Thomas and Alice. The air crackled with tension whenever these two were together and I thought they were made for each other! 

     Another aspect of the story that I tremendously enjoyed was the breathtaking premise - from the ruins of the world destroyed by the Plague to the remote island surrounded by vast ocean waters - the setting helped create a magical, eerie (often scary) atmosphere. The post-apocalyptic world was both beautiful and treacherous. Antony John's descriptions were vivid, crisp and very helpful in visualizing everything in my head. 

     All in all, Elemental is one of my top favorite fantasy adventures. Everything - from the great pacing to ever-present tension - was really good. I loved how the story gradually picked up speed, building up to a very emotional crescendo ending. Many questions were left unanswered, leaving me pining for more. I can't wait for the next book!

Stop by on Monday, April 8th to read my interview with Antony John and enter to win a copy of Elemental and the second book in the trilogy, Firebrand!

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