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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ARC Review: Elemental by Emily White

Be sure to stop by my Elemental Blog Tour post to check out my interview with Emily White and enter to win my ARC and/or a signed bookmark!

TITLE: Elemental                            SERIES: Elemental Trilogy #1
AUTHOR: Emily White                PUB: Spencer Hill Press
PUB DATE: 5/1/12                        FORMAT: ARC
SOURCE: from pub in exchange for my honest review

Just because Ella can burn someone to the ground with her mind doesn't mean she should. But she wants to. For ten years—ever since she was a small child—Ella has been held prisoner on an interstellar starship. Now that she has escaped, she needs answers.Who is she? Why was she taken? And who is the boy with the beautiful green eyes who haunts her memories?Is Ella the prophesied Destructor… or will she be the one who's destroyed? 


THREE WORDS: Fiery & Sparkly Sci-Fi

MY REVIEW: Elemental, by Emily White, has a very tantalizing, yet not overly detailed blurb, so I honestly did not know what to expect when I started this book. What I got was a very intriguing story that packs quite the punch and boom.

Ella has been held prisoner aboard Sho’ful, a starship in space, for ten years, until the day the ship mysteriously docks and she is able to escape. Free, but with nowhere to go, Ella ends up meeting a kind stranger, Meir, who protects her from her captors, the Mamood. Ella and Meir soon learn that the Mamood believe she is the prophesied Destructor who will destroy their god Manoo. Ella also discovers that she possesses dangerous abilities and control over certain elements. With the help of an old friend and his son Malik, the two are able to flee from the Mamood, but danger follows them. Ella struggles with control over her abilities and is haunted by the memory of a boy with green eyes. The only thing Ella knows for sure is that she needs answers.

Elemental is a quick, exciting read that took me on an unexpected and surprising journey. Emily White has certainly crafted a sci-fi story that is original without being too Out There in the realm of unbelievable. The story itself is captivating, but not without its faults.

Instead of providing backstory in the beginning of the book about Ella and why she’s a prisoner or where she’s from, this is instead sprinkled throughout much of the book. At first, I found this lack of information and backstory to be a bit distracting and even disorienting. I spent much of the first few chapters focused on all my questions that weren’t being answered. But the more I allowed myself to simply fall into and get caught up in Ella’s story, the more I realized that White disperses info, backstory and revelations at the perfect times. And falling into and getting caught up in Ella’s story is super easy because the mysteries surrounding Ella and the fascinating sci-fi elements White has created are addicting. I HAD to know where Ella’s journey began and how it would end.

I don’t read much sci-fi and Elemental is very sci-fi-ish  (that’s totally a word, right?), with its starships, interplanetary settings and wicked cool advanced technology, but I found that I really enjoyed the sci-fi elements. The world(s) that White has created is fantastically vivid, rich, layered and varied. And impressive, seeing as she had to develop (and develop well) several different planets, cultures and religions.

The story is told from Ella’s perspective and I liked being privy into her immediate and intimate thoughts. I have a sort of love/hate (but not really hate, more like the way a big sister “hates” her annoying little sis when she does dumb stuff) relationship with Ella. She is certainly a complex and dimensional character whose story I was completely invested in, but at times I found her completely frustrating. I love her determination, curiosity and uniqueness. In a way Ella is like many other YA heroines in that she is gifted/cursed with dangerous abilities and must fight to control them. Yet, unlike many of those other heroines, Ella actually openly and honestly explores her dark side. I love that she often straddles that thin line between doing what’s right and doing what feels right/good, and White does a superb job of exploring this part of her character. What I found frustrating about Ella is her lack of self-confidence and self-worth. The girl constantly wants to run off and sacrifice herself and I just want to smack some sense into her…lovingly of course.

Is there romance? Yes, yes there is. Did I love the romance? Nope. Did I hate the romance? Nope. Am I seriously conflicted by the romance? Fo’ sho! I’m one of those readers who usually ends up falling for or rooting for the wrong potential love interest and getting mad when the main character ends up with someone else, even when they kinda sorta belong together. <= Did this happen while reading Elemental? Yep. BUT, I will say that I am certainly interested to see where Ella and ?’s relationship goes.

Ella’s journey literally takes readers all over the universe and ends with a showdown, a kaboom, a surprise reappearance and a betrayal. Now, I must talk about this betrayal, which comes in the form of a twisty character revelation, because honestly it wasn’t just a slap in Ella’s face but it felt like a punch in my gut as well. A part of me wants to applaud White for being able to craft such a clever and devious character twist, while the other part of me either wants to sit and scowl at her or fall at her feet asking “Why?” with a full on lip wobble…perhaps I shall do all three…I’m looking at you Ms. Emily White ;)

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: In a galaxy far, far away lives a girl named Ella who is kicking godly butt and taking names…in this *gestures wildly around* galaxy you can read all about Ella’s story in Elemental, an enthralling and refreshing YA sci-fi that has me hooked. I will definitely be continuing this series!

4/5 Cupcakes

Find the author: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Book Dep.
Emily White lives in NY, wedged between two of the Great Lakes and a few feet of snow and ice. She's spent most of her life running away from the cold, and even spent a year in Iraq, but now contents herself with writing her characters into warm, exotic places in faraway galaxies. When not tapping away at her computer keys, she can be found reading, reading, and reading some more. And when she's not doing that, she's usually playing video games with her husband, peek-a-boo with her kids, or walking through her garden, wondering why the bugs insist on eating all her vegetables. Emily's debut YA Sci-fi novel, ELEMENTAL, will be published by Spencer Hill Press in 2012.


Unknown said...

Really great review now you have me intrigued with the whole book. Love yoru comment abotu the romance hehe.

Steph said...

Great review! I haven't heard much about this book, but it sounds really interesting!! I'm definitely going to check it out. Love the cover too!!

vic caswell said...

heeheehee! i love your voice in this review! YAY for elemental! and for emily white!!!!

Kelly said...

I saw the giveaway and didn't know a thing about the book. So I came to read your review. I liked that you started off not sure since it's a sci fi'ish book. I also like the punch in the gut you got too. Makes me want more!!!

Filia Oktarina said...

wow,...that was great. I haven't hear about this book, but this review make me want read it.

Mary Gray said...

Wow! I love your review. So thorough and honest, yet I didn't get bored. I've read maybe two sci-fi books in my life, but this one sounds fascinating. I think I will read!

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

Great review, Aiecha! I will admit to feeling rather "meh" about this one - I even considered requesting an ARC, but I just...wasn't sure. Now I know more about it and thanks to your review I'm quite interested! I'm more a fantasy girl but I do love the occasional good sci-fi novel!

Kara D. said...

Great review! Ella sounds interesting. I always like books that end in an awesome showdown!

Tobi said...

Good review. I am definitely putting it on my to read list

Misty said...

Elemental looks fabulous! I love your reviews and am really looking forward to reading Elemental.

Jessirae said...

*sigh* I love how in depth your reviews are! I'm totally there on the whole I don't read much sci-fi thing. I rarely do, but I always want to give them a try! Especially this one. It just sounds amazing! I'm sorry to hear that you chose the wrong love interest! This usually doesn't happen to me, but lately I've been falling for the wrong one too and I get super annoyed when the MC picks the one I like! I agree that some characters just belong together. lol. Ella sounds like a lovely character. I think I'll definitely relate to her determination and curiosity. I am very curious about her gifts and abilities and cannot wait to know more about her!

Thanks so much for the wonderful review. I'm super excited to read this one <3 :)