Word Spelunking

Elemental - Emily White Elemental, by Emily White, has a very tantalizing, yet not overly detailed blurb, so I honestly did not know what to expect when I started this book. What I got was a very intriguing story that packs quite the punch and boom.Ella has been held prisoner aboard Sho’ful, a starship in space, for ten years, until the day the ship mysteriously docks and she is able to escape. Free, but with nowhere to go, Ella ends up meeting a kind stranger, Meir, who protects her from her captors, the Mamood. Ella and Meir soon learn that the Mamood believe she is the prophesied Destructor who will destroy their god Manoo. Ella also discovers that she possesses dangerous abilities and control over certain elements. With the help of an old friend and his son Malik, the two are able to flee from the Mamood, but danger follows them. Ella struggles with control over her abilities and is haunted by the memory of a boy with green eyes. The only thing Ella knows for sure is that she needs answers.Elemental is a quick, exciting read that took me on an unexpected and surprising journey. Emily White has certainly crafted a sci-fi story that is original without being too Out There in the realm of unbelievable. The story itself is captivating, but not without its faults.Instead of providing backstory in the beginning of the book about Ella and why she’s a prisoner or where she’s from, this is instead sprinkled throughout much of the book. At first, I found this lack of information and backstory to be a bit distracting and even disorienting. I spent much of the first few chapters focused on all my questions that weren’t being answered. But the more I allowed myself to simply fall into and get caught up in Ella’s story, the more I realized that White disperses info, backstory and revelations at the perfect times. And falling into and getting caught up in Ella’s story is super easy because the mysteries surrounding Ella and the fascinating sci-fi elements White has created are addicting. I HAD to know where Ella’s journey began and how it would end.I don’t read much sci-fi and Elemental is very sci-fi-ish (that’s totally a word, right?), with its starships, interplanetary settings and wicked cool advanced technology, but I found that I really enjoyed the sci-fi elements. The world(s) that White has created is fantastically vivid, rich, layered and varied. And impressive, seeing as she had to develop (and develop well) several different planets, cultures and religions.The story is told from Ella’s perspective and I liked being privy into her immediate and intimate thoughts. I have a sort of love/hate (but not really hate, more like the way a big sister “hates” her annoying little sis when she does dumb stuff) relationship with Ella. She is certainly a complex and dimensional character whose story I was completely invested in, but at times I found her completely frustrating. I love her determination, curiosity and uniqueness. In a way Ella is like many other YA heroines in that she is gifted/cursed with dangerous abilities and must fight to control them. Yet, unlike many of those other heroines, Ella actually openly and honestly explores her dark side. I love that she often straddles that thin line between doing what’s right and doing what feels right/good, and White does a superb job of exploring this part of her character. What I found frustrating about Ella is her lack of self-confidence and self-worth. The girl constantly wants to run off and sacrifice herself and I just want to smack some sense into her…lovingly of course.Is there romance? Yes, yes there is. Did I love the romance? Nope. Did I hate the romance? Nope. Am I seriously conflicted by the romance? Fo’ sho! I’m one of those readers who usually ends up falling for or rooting for the wrong potential love interest and getting mad when the main character ends up with someone else, even when they kinda sorta belong together.

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