Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 480 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Elemental Trilogy
Source: ARC from Amazon Vine
Rating: 5/5 stars
I got an advanced reading copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. This is the first book in the Elemental Trilogy. It was an absolutely fantastic young adult fantasy read. I enjoyed the characters, the world, and the magic.
Iolanthe Seabourne is supposedly the greatest Elemental Mage of the realm and she has been told that it is her destiny to save the realm from the leader of Atlantis, the Bane. Prince Titus of Elberon has prepared his whole life to meet the next great Elemental Mage in hopes of using this mage to overthrow Atlantis in an effort to claim his power and revenge his family. Except, Titus wasn’t expecting the Elemental Mage to be a girl and Iolanthe wasn’t expecting to be a savior of the realm. When Iolanthe is forced to flee Atlantis’s agents, Titus comes to her aid. Iolanthe ends up hiding in an all boys school outside the magic realm….which is no small feat when you are a girl and you have never been in the non-magical world.
This was a fantastic read, it is a really interesting world with lots of awesome magic. The book is fast-paced and the characters were very engaging.
Iolanthe is a very reluctant heroine. She doesn’t believe that she has the Elemental strength to do what Titus wants, she wants to live her own life and not be coerced into helping Titus save the realm. However, Iolanthe continually surprises those around her with her humor, resourcefulness, and strength.
Titus has been driven by one purpose and one purpose only his whole life….to defeat the Bane and overthrow Atlantis’s rule. He is a puppet on his own throne and sees Iolanthe as the ticket to freedom for his realm.
Neither of them expected to fall in love with the other. Neither of them expected the visions and prophecies surrounding them to turn out so very different than they were supposed to. The romance is very well done; our character fall in love gradually over shared experiences and beliefs. There are a lot of obstacles for them to overcome in their relationship and they do so admirably.
The Inquisitor is an excellent villain as well. She uses mind magic and is truly terrifying for such a beautifully petite woman. There are some other interesting side characters as well, but the story is very focused on Iolanthe and Titus.
The time spent at the all boy’s school is incredibly amusing. Many times Iolanthe fits in better with the other boys than Titus, this makes for a number of funny scenes and the humor adds a lot to the story.
This is a fascinating world full of complicated magic and politics. However, it never gets too complicated. There is a lot of terminology thrown around; such as vaulting and you are quickly introduced to Elemental magic and small magics too. While not everything is explicitly explained, the context makes it fairly easy to figure out what is what.
There is some very neat magic in here. The vaulting (ability to travel quickly through long distances) is very cool. As are some of the little magics like portals and the ability to travel through a magic book. There are also some awesome magics; like the ability to call tornados, firestorms, and hurricanes.
The plot is well done and has a couple good twists and turns. The book is well written and easy to read. I enjoyed how the story wrapped up very nicely and then threw in a little surprise that will carry on to future books.
Overall an absolutely wonderful fantasy read. This book has it all; a complex world, interesting magic, an excellent plot, and characters that are likable and engaging. There is action, adventure, danger, and romance as well. Everything is very well balanced and the book was incredibly hard to put down…I really enjoyed reading it. I will definitely be reading future installments in this series and can’t wait to see what the next book holds for our magical characters.