A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Elemental is the exciting first volume of a fantasy series set in North Carolina's Outer Banks in the near future. The novel features a crew of villainous pirates, so there's a fair amount of violence -- beatings, gunshots, the amputation of a finger -- but the mayhem isn't gratuitously described. Three of the characters form an awkward romantic triangle, but there's little sexual content. Objectionable language and substance-abuse content are virtually nil.
What's the story?
In the near future, a plague seems to have wiped out the North Carolina mainland, but a tiny colony survives on Roanoke. Each member possesses the power of one of the elements -- earth, water, wind, or fire -- except for Thomas, who apparently lacks any sort of magical gift. But when a hurricane and marauding pirates both head for the island, Thomas must find a way to save his family and friends. In doing so, he helps uncover secrets that will leave them all changed forever.
Is it any good?
ELEMENTAL is a nonstop adventure fantasy with an intriguing near-future setting. It presents a fresh take on the standard tropes of apocalyptic fiction, mixing history with fantasy and pirate derring-do. The characters get a little hysterical in their refusal to share vital information with one other, but the interplay between them remains compelling.
Many questions are left unanswered at the end of the book, but author Antony John inspires confidence that he'll be able to carry this saga forward with inventiveness and skill.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why postapocalyptic stories in books, movies, and TV are so popular. What's going on in our world that makes readers want to imagine a society with few resources in the near future, where everyone is struggling to survive?
Are there times when it's better to hide the truth than it is to reveal it? How do you decide what information should be kept secret?
What might it feel like to grow up among talented people yet suspect that you have no special qualities of your own? Have you ever felt that way?
- Author: Antony John
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and sisters, History, Misfits and underdogs, Pirates
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Dial Books
- Publication date: November 21, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 320
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.