Title: The Elementals (Book 1)
Author: Troy Jackson
Date of Publication: October 12, 2012
Genre: Historical, Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: ARC from Author
Barnes & Noble
Upon unifying the seven warring states under one banner, the First Emperor of China began solidifying power for what he envisioned as a thousand-year reign. Using those he conquered, the Emperor began a series of arduous projects, Including the first Great Wall, the Linqu Canal, and a national system of highways. Ignoring the physical and emotional toll exacted upon the people, his insatiable desire to further his own power has led to a growing, and secretive insurgency. One such organization is the Dragon's Spite who wishes to usurp control of the throne by nearly any means. But first they must marshal their forces strewn throughout the kingdom. More importantly they seek out three extraordinary girls who hold vast supernatural powers that can tip the balance in their favor. But do these unknowing heroines realize the talents that they possess? Will the Dragon's Spite reach them before the agents of the Emperor?
The Elementals is a well-made blend of young adult fantasy, China’s colorful culture and history, enlightening Confucian beliefs, and a tale of friendship, hope and bravery amidst hardships.
What I liked about the book is that it blended history with a touch of fantasy. The result is a very engaging read which not only carries the reader to a different time and place, but also teaches wisdom through the application of Chinese (mostly Confucian) proverbs throughout the story.
Also, it is very well-written. I could literally picture out each scene playing in my head like I was transported to another place even though I’m only sitting at my desk. Secondly, the events in this story were also well-planned and well-placed. Although the events may seem like a random mish-mash of scenes at the beginning, everything falls into place at the end.
If I would have to pick characters that I really liked from this book, I would pick Li Jun and Mu Fang, because they are awesome and insanely strong! Then again, I also admire the three heroines, Jiao Ai, Cai and Shi Lin, because they were able to set aside their hate and fight for the good instead.
Personally, this story reminded of the animated Nickolodeon series, Avatar – The Last Airbender. Both touched on Asian culture and imparted wisdom through their storylines. Both also involved the control of elements and the fight against an oppressive ruler.
I highly recommend this for fans of historical novels, as well as those who would like to read a different kind of young adult fantasy!