Author: Antony John
Release date: November 21, 2012
Reading level: YA
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.
I started Elemental not knowing what exactly I was going to get from it but hoping that it was as awesome as I thought it would be. While it didn't quite meet my expectations it came pretty damn close and it solidified my love of Antony John's writing.
The story is by far one of the most unique and interesting stories I have read in a while. I'm not quite sure whether to classify this one as dystopian or post-apocalyptic. I'd actually say it's a little bit of both. Thomas and his colony are all alone. The plague destroyed the rest of the world and people are either forever at sea or like Thomas, found an island untouched by plague to inhabit. However, Thomas and his people also have secrets very different from those of the rest of the world. They are Elementals and each one has the power to know and control a certain element. Thomas is the first child born without an element in his colony and now that's he's 16 he has no hope that he will ever get an element or be of any use to his colony. That all changes when pirates destroy their colony and kidnap all the adults. It's up to Thomas and a handful of his friends to find out the pirates motives, save their families, and discover quite a bit about themselves and their pasts.
There is no mention of time period during Elemental but I definitely pictured it as a dystopian setting. However, things are almost like that of the old days without electricity and technology. Not knowing the time period and things like that actually made me like the book more. I could kind of imagine things a little differently and I liked trying to create the world in my mind based on the details that were given.
The characters were a little hard to connect with at first. Thomas seemed to feel sorry for himself for quite some time and that is really a huge pet peeve of mine. His life was not easy, that's for sure, but he also didn't have it nearly as bad as he could have. I didn't see what was all that great about being an Elemental and so I didn't really understand why he was so upset that he didn't have an element. Oh and something unique about this story is that it's told from Thomas' point-of-view and instead of having two guys fighting over one girl, there were two girls fighting over Thomas. Alice and Rose both had some serious issues but I could see why both of them would be good for Thomas but in very different ways. Rose was calm, level-headed, smart, and she always helped Thomas work through things. Alice was impulsive, a little crazy, and easy to anger. She seemed to like taunting Thomas about things he didn't know rather than helping him uncover the secrets. However, her personality really seemed to fit well with Thomas and I thought they were cute together. My favorite character though was Griffin, Thomas' little brother. He didn't have a huge role in the book but he made an impact. He was mute but that didn't stop him when he had things to say. He was very smart, resourceful, and just an awesome character.
My biggest problem was just getting into the story. Obviously quite some time was spent setting up the world, the characters, and the conflict but I just found myself easily distracted from the story for the first 50 or so pages. I had to force myself through those pages but once I got into the story there was no stopping.
Overall, Elemental is what I would have to call a fabulous boy book. I loved it, I know other female readers will enjoy it, but I have to recommend this one if you are looking for a book for a male to read. It's action packed, full of mysteries, and there is just enough romance thrown in for female readers to enjoy.
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