Mar 27, 2012

Review: Earth (Elemental #1) by Shauna Granger


Kindle ebook: 230 pages
Source: purchased

Published April 30, 2011
My rating: 3.5/5 

Goodreads Summary: Shayna and her two best friends have the abilities to manipulate and control the four elements, earth, air, water and fire. While learning to hone their growing powers, they discover a new and malicious presence in their sleepy beach town. Someone is performing blood magic and threatens to expose their small magical community. So far only small animals have been slaughtered, but then the nightmares start.

Shayna suffers nightmares of being chased and sacrificed only to wake up bloodied and bruised. She thinks her magical blood is the ultimate target for the final blood rite. When an innocent girl, Tracy, is kidnapped Shayna knows it’s only a ploy to draw her out; she can’t let someone die because of her.

I have very mixed feelings about this book. While there were some things that I thoroughly enjoyed, there were other things that put me off and eventually led to a lower rating. I've read a few books on witchcraft recently. I wanted to read more about Elementals and when this one popped up on Amazon I all but screamed with delight. I wasn't disappointed, I liked the book in general, but there were those few thingies that bothered me.

The final impression of this book was that Shauna spent a great deal of time researching. The rituals and the entire aspect of magic was really detailed and well-described. I loved that. The author payed much attention to how the magic works, what it feels (and tastes) like for Shayna and her friends. That was one of the main reasons why I decided to read it, so a big thank you to Shauna for making the magic come to life.

Another great thing is that the author didn't use cliches that we see too often in YA. No star-crossed lovers, no love triangles. Shauna is doing quite the opposite of what is done in many YA novels-she doesn't force the romance. The resolution of the "romance" between Jensen and Shayna was surprisingly mature and sensible.

My major complaints are directed toward the characters. I have a feeling that the author didn't succeed in capturing the voice of teenagers. They appear too paper-cut-out, too clean and un-spontaneous. (On a related note-I just saw that one reader said there was too much unnecessary cussing-really? I only found it in spot, but I'd like to see anyone not dropping the f-bomb if they were chased by a hell hound). Some of the dialogues sounded artificial and wooden and to be honest, they bored me. Shayna comes across as too bossy, and her patronizing tone was really out of place.
Much as I loved the long descriptions of rituals, they slow down the pacing tremendously and stretch out the story for far too long, so if you're looking for a fast-paced, adventure packed read, I'm not sure you'll find your thrill here.

And last-the word "dude" was far far overused, to the point it became annoying.

The second book in the series, Air, was published Septemeber 2011, and the third book, Water, is due for publication June 2012. 
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