November 21, 2012

Review: Elemental

Elemental By Antony John
Available now from Dial (Penguin)
Review copy

Thomas lives on an island of fifteen people.  Everyone has a power, known as an element, aside from Thomas.  Then the Guardians are kidnapped during a sudden storm, leaving Thomas and the other kids to escape the pirates on their own.  As they struggle to keep themselves safe, they begin to discover all the secrets the adults kept.

It took me awhile to figure out ELEMENTAL was set in the future, despite that being mentioned in the very first line printed on the back of my ARC.  Clearly I didn't read what the book was about before diving in.  I enjoyed trying to piece together what happened to the world, curious about the plague that left behind only a few people who had magical powers.

Some of ELEMENTAL was pretty predictable.  Obviously Thomas actually does have a special ability.  (I'll admit to not entirely understanding how his ability worked, but that might be because Thomas didn't entirely get it himself.)  I found the love triangle tolerable, mostly because both Alice and Rose are sixteen too, and their only other romantic option is Thomas's older brother who is also a bit of an outcast because he predicts people's deaths.  There just aren't enough available guys to prevent the love triangle.  It's also pretty low key.  The kids' focus is on getting their families back and getting away from the pirates, not making out.  Rose and Alice's competition just provides a bit of tension within the group.

I thought ELEMENTAL was a standalone fantasy, so I was a bit disappointed by the obvious lead in to a sequel at the end.  ELEMENTAL does contain a complete adventure, but many of the big questions remain unanswered at the end of the book.  That's fine if there are going to be more books, but it wasn't what I expected when I started.

I found ELEMENTAL mildly diverting, but I was never absorbed into the world Antony John has created.  It was fun enough, but I'm not driven to read the possible sequel to get answers and see what Thomas and the others do now that they know more about their world.  I think the novel just felt kind of shallow.  There was no spark that made me love these characters or this world.


  1. This is a really good review :) The book's premise sounds ok, and it's nice the love triangle has a different reason for being, as such, but I think what you've highlighted would get to me, too.

    1. Thank you! I do love logic behind a love triangle.

  2. Oh...yet another series, huh? And I've done the same thing, not realized an important element about a book until I'm a few chapters in! We read too much, I think this is the problem. ;)

    I' m sorry this was a disappointment to you; it doesn't sound like it was horrible, but it doesn't sound very remarkable, either.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. Yep, it was just one of those middle of the road books.

      It seems like standalones are making a resurgence, but the series are holding strong.

      It probably is reading too much! I don't bother much beyond titles, cover, and author name so I'm often surprised by stuff.

  3. Bummer this didn't grasp you enough. It certainly happens. I must admit, despite being annoyed with most love triangles, I like that this one has two girls instead of the normal two guys.


  4. Ah, I'm sorry this book felt shallow but I'm glad it was fun to read.

    1. Yep, being fun to read is extremely important.


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