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Elemental Hardcover – November 21, 2012

34 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Elemental Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6-10-When plague hit the mainland United States, a few people managed to escape to the Outer Banks. Now, 16-year-old Thomas is the only person on Hatteras Island without an Element, the supernatural ability to manipulate air, fire, earth, or water. When pirates kidnap the adults and attempt to take the island for their own, Thomas; his deaf younger brother; his best friend, Alice; his would-be girlfriend, Rose; and Rose's little brother hide out on Roanoke Island, where an abandoned community has been reduced to rubble in the wake of the plague and treacherous storms. As they defend themselves against desperate pirates, the teens slowly discover that their Guardians have been hiding secrets-particularly about Thomas-that could cost all of them their lives. A confusing start makes way for plenty of action for readers who enjoy survival stories with a twist of the supernatural and a hint of romance. Thomas and Alice are the focal characters as both are instrumental in defending the island. The eerie setting, with its skeletal buildings and mysterious past, is practically a character in itself. The mystery builds so slowly that some readers might abandon Elemental before the action really kicks in. For that reason, it is best recommended to patient readers who, like the characters, will fight for answers that don't come easily.-Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TXα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

At 16, Thomas is used to being the first of his kind born without an elemental power—earth, water, wind, or fire—but that doesn’t make his life any easier. Thom’s world is one decimated by plague and now fractured into bands of people still terrified of becoming ill. Thom has become an object of derision to the powerful residents of his tiny Outer Banks home, with the exception of his closest friends, Rose and Alice. Everything changes abruptly one day when a fearsome storm hits and pirates abduct all the Guardians, leaving the younger people to rely upon their own limited knowledge to survive in a harsh landscape. Muddled during the first several chapters, the plot and mysteries slowly untangle throughout the narrative as the pace picks up. A tendency toward melodrama on Thom’s part may frustrate older readers, although younger ones may empathize with his seemingly rebellious attitudes. The uncommon first-person male point of view, rare in the wildly popular dystopian subgenre, should appeal to boys in particular, although female genre fans will also likely pick it up. Grades 7-10. --Julie Trevelyan

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 580L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books (November 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803736827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803736825
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen @ My Life is a Notebook on November 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads doesn't have a series tag for this book. This is possibly the worst thing ever. I CAN'T BE LEFT WITH THAT ENDING!

Er. But let me back up.

Basically, the beginning of the book goes like this: Meet Thomas. He lives on a tiny island. No one on the island really likes him. Except for these two girls that fight over him. But actually he's pretty useless. BUT NEVERMIND THAT, PIRATES!

Actually, it took me a little while to get into this world. The world of the Elementals seems self explanatory, but that is in fact not the case. Right in the first chapter, almost every person on Thomas's little island is introduced, and after that's basically up to you to remember who everyone is. I'm never a fan of large casts-especially because few of them actually play a large part in the novel.

John actually tries to get away with not explaining a lot of things, under the guise of "secrets" and things that have been hidden from the children of the island. In some cases this can't be avoided, since the novel is told in the first person, but other times it just got really annoying. So that is my one mention of this dystopian's world building.

This beginning didn't last overly long, but it did not imbue me with confidence about the rest of the book. However, once John got the pesky adults out of the way, something happened.

The book TOOK OFF.

I can barely say anything about much of it because there are SO MANY SECRETS in this book, but most of them made me so happy. What I originally thought was a simple plot line extended deeper and deeper with every page. No, a lot of this wasn't fully explained, but it was all there and it was pretty cool. The action also speeds up towards the end, which was really nice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Evie Seo TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Elemental had me glued to its pages from the get-go. It's a thrilling adventure that sparkles with emotionally powerful moments, stunning visuals and eye-popping plot twists. This story really has it all: a phenomenal post-apocalyptic setting, long buried secrets, ruthless villains (that you'll just love to hate!) and characters you'll be cheering for. The best part? The unique, fresh plot line that is just as mysterious and exciting as it is thought-provoking and moving. Trust me, you won't be able to put it down!

When many years ago the Plague spread across the globe, a small group of people had taken to the ocean in a desperate attempt to escape its deadly embrace. The small colony settled down on a remote island (Hatteras). The members of the colony - the Guardians and their Apprentices - all possess the ability to read and manipulate air, water, fire or earth. They use it to find food, summon fire and predict the violent storms that often hit the island. Our lead protagonist, 16-year-old Thomas, is the only one born without an element.

When yet another storm is about to unleash its fury on Hatteras Island, the kids (accompanied by Guardian Lora) end up waiting in out on a neighboring island. Things quickly go South from there: Guardian Lora passes away during the storm, all the other Guardians disappear without a trace, and a band of pirates invades their island, burning their colony to the ground. And they are now after the kids. To survive, Thomas and his friends first need to learn the truth about the Plague, their colony and themselves.

Elemental is - quite simply - a really awesome book. The plot line is well thought out, original and captivating. Full of secrets and mysteries, it really keeps you on your toes all the way to the end.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I was fortunate enough to receive this ARC from the author. This fact does not alter or affect my review.

I would like to preface my review with some background so the reader can understand where I am coming from when I review a book from a trilogy. I have a love/hate relationship with trilogies. There are certain factors I always look for in a first book. It's hard to rate based on completeness until the entire trilogy is done. The first book always tends to be the "set up" book. So what I look for: the book in some ways is stand alone. While there are threads that are still hanging, we get a sense that the first story has been complete. I also want to know that those threads are interesting enough to stick around for another two books. Thirdly, the characters have to be captivating enough to want to see more of them. It is a marvel to me how many books fall into one of these traps. Either it spends too much time setting up the next two books without being a book of its own, or it is so complete that I don't actually feel like I need to read any more of the books.

Antony John does not fall into these traps. 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.
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