Friday, October 21, 2011

Elemental: The First by Alexandra May

Elemental: The First
Alexandra May
Elemental #1
Source: PNR/UF Fanatics' R2R Program

In theory, this book had great potential. In practice, it was incredibly frustrating. The world May set up was interesting and unusual. Rose's story was suspenseful and will probably grow to be quite impressive.

However, there were some major issues, particularly in characterization. Most of the time I can get a pretty good feel for characters, but I had no clue about Rose. Honestly, I'm not quite sure the author did either. Rose contradicted herself multiple times in the story about her feelings for Morgan and Aiden, whether or not she wanted to live with Daisy, what to do about the various situations that cropped up, etc. Normally characters' actions and emotions match up well, but Rose kept pulling these stunts out of left field and I was left flipping back in the book to try to figure out where they came from.

A story is the direct result of the actions of the characters, not the other way around. But at numerous point during the book I got the feeling that the characters were just means to an end. Yes, your story has to have something happen, but I have to believe that the people in it would actually do whatever it is that they're doing, and a lot of time, I didn't. Because of this and other factors, none of the characters felt real to me.

Even the plot itself had its weird quirks. Things like the boy Rose saw in the street and Rose and Mira's bullying episode raised their heads and then vanished, never to be seen again.

Something indefinable bothered me about the writing style, especially at the beginning of the book, but whenever I tried to put my finger on what, exactly, it was, it skittered away from me. I suppose that's the definition of the word indefinable, but I did try.

Despite all these problems, there really were parts of the book I enjoyed a great deal. Most of the scene on the hill at the alien party was entertaining. Many of the action sequences were good. But every time I started to get into the story, another glaring inconsistency popped up that distracted me from the tale itself. With a decent editor, this could have been a great book. As it is, it's an adequate draft.

Plot: 2 cupcakes
Characters: 2 cupcakes
Style: 2 cupcakes
Overall: 2 cupcakes

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