Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Birthday, Elemental and US Giveaway

I just got back from a terrific event featuring Antony John, the author of Five Flavors of Dumb, Thou Shalt Not Road Trip, Busted, and now the dystopian, Elemental.

Just to remind everyone-- Here is a description of the book, my review, and a blurb about Antony, who is the nicest guy you'll ever meet (and probably the funniest!). He signed several bookmarks for me so I could give them away to all of you guys!

Goodreads description: A mysterious and powerful fantasy adventure from a Schneider Award winner

In the near future, most of the population of the United States has been destroyed by the plague. The few remaining survivors live in colonies on the barrier islands off the East Coast. In one colony near Cape Hatteras, almost all the members have elemental powers and can control wind, water, earth, and fire. All but sixteen-year-old Thomas. When the Guardians, the powerful adult leaders, are kidnapped by pirates seeking to take over their colony, it is up to Thomas and a small group of teens to save them and preserve the mysteries of the island.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Abbreviated Goodreads review
Elemental is a dark, brooding book that opens up with secrets upon secrets. The protagonist, Thomas, is apparently the only one in the Colony that doesn't have any powers to call upon the elements. This makes him an outcast-- to the point where no one can even bear to touch him. He has two friends that are as different as night and day and hint to a bit of a love triangle-- Rose and Alice. When a storm comes and their parents and the Guardians of the Colony disappear, Thomas and his friends need to discover the secrets that have remained hidden for years in order to save themselves and their loved ones.

I spent the first several chapters confused. But the tone and the interesting backstory of the characters kept me going until the secrets started revealing themselves. I think all of this was completely deliberate by the author. This book is written in first person, so all that we know is what Thom knows, which isn't very much. So he is as confused as we are. When he learns of information, it is the first time both of us know this information. I think this set up worked extremely well for the plotting of the book. And the secrets-- what bombshells. I almost thought there couldn't be any more and they kept coming, most in the last half of the book. While the last secret was something that had crossed my mind, it brought up so many questions that this didn't matter. I was hooked. As for the characters, I continue to enjoy Antony John's female characters who are strong, brave, resourceful and many times much more so than his male characters. I'm okay with this because Thomas is a likeable character and has three books to grow and change in (which I am sure he will), but Alice blows me away. She is daring and fearless. She reminds me of Tris in Divergent and I want to see more of her. Rose is less fascinating but what she lacks in intrigue she makes up for in aching sweetness. 

Needless to say, I want to know more about what is going on, what has happened before and what is going to happen next. This is the perfect first book to a trilogy; we have a sense of completeness and yet, there are many places where the next two books can go-- and we want to follow for as long as we can. The characters are terrific; well developed but there is room for even more development. And there are characters that still remain mysterious, and I am sure we will learn more about. I highly recommend Elemental and can only believe that this trilogy can only get better. Antony John has written a completely different novel than his first two, which is in itself a triumph; but the fact that he has made it immensely compelling is the greater victory. 

Blurb about Antony: Antony John was born in England and raised on a balanced diet of fish and chips, obscure British comedies, and ABBA's Greatest Hits. In a fit of teenage rebellion, he decided to pursue a career in classical music, culminating in a BA from Oxford University and a PhD from Duke University. Along the way, he worked as an ice cream seller on a freezing English beach, a tour guide in the Netherlands, a chauffeur in Switzerland, a barista in Seattle, and a university professor. Writing by night, he spends his days as a stay-at-home dad—the only job that allows him to wear his favorite pair of sweatpants all the time. He lives in St. Louis with his family.

Visit Antony's Blog:

Enter to win an Elemental Bookmark signed by Antony!
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  1. Thanks so much for popping along to the launch, Christina, and for all the support! And Happy Thanksgiving to all your readers!

    1. Absolutely, my pleasure! Can't wait for the next one!

  2. Thanks for this giveaway!! Glad you liked this one. Also, I have this event on my blog called OVEREXPOSED BOOK 2012, a book that has been talked about, featured, reviewed by almost every book blogger. You can vote your favorite YA book, and might win it! I thought you might be interested since you read YA.
    Little Book Star