Jan 20, 2014
Title: The Elementals
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: June 2013
Overall: 2 out of 5 stars
Kate Witherspoon has lived a bohemian life with her artist parents. In 1917, the new art form of the motion picture is changing entertainment—and Kate is determined to become a director.
Meanwhile, midwestern farm boy Julian Birch has inherited the wanderlust that fueled his parents’ adventures. A childhood bout with polio has left him crippled, but he refuses to let his disability define him.
Strangers driven by a shared vision, Kate and Julian set out separately for Los Angeles, the city of dreams. There, they each struggle to find their independence. When they finally meet, the teenage runaways realize their true magical legacy: the ability to triumph over death, and over time. But as their powerful parents before them learned, all magic comes with a price.
So I have to start this review out by saying that I’ve truly enjoyed Saundra Mitchell’s writing. I’ve read all the books in her The Vespertine series, and was immediately sucked into the world that she created with Amelia and Zora. However, that being said this book was somewhat of a disappointment. There were many things that I enjoyed and loved about The Elementals, but there were also certain aspects that I felt detracted from the story. Let me start by telling you what I did enjoy.
The writing was phenomenal as always. The descriptions were rich and luscious, and both Kate and Julian were characters I could connect with. Kate was mischievous and ambitious, and I loved that she never let the rules of her time confine her. Kate wasn’t afraid to be herself, and I did really enjoy that she was willing to step out on her own. She didn’t really understand what the meant, but she was absolutely fearless in doing it.
Julian was a different story. He was quiet, sensitive, and just a very good person. It hurt to read about him getting looked down upon just because he had a bad leg. A leg that was only bad because of polio! It definitely made me thankful that this is one disease that we don’t have to worry about anymore. I hated the situation that led to Julian leaving the farm. It seemed so unfair to consider him useless, especially because he was a hard worker. I can understand why people who didn’t know him felt that way, but it bothered me that his family and Elise looked at him that way. Still these are all reasons why I liked the book. It made me think and feel for the characters.
However what didn’t work for me was that all of those bits took up most of the book, and really were supposed to be setting up a plot that was resolved in 25 pages. It was difficult to understand how Kate could go from this massive crush on Mollie to suddenly be willing to give up everything for Julian. As a reader I found it hard to believe that after 24 hours they were willing to give up everything for each other. I actually didn’t think the ending was bad, it wasn’t a perfect happily ever after, but that wasn’t the issue for me. It just felt incredibly rushed, and because most of book was set up. It literally went from setting everything up, to Kate and Julian meeting, to the end. It just felt like there was more to the story, and Kate and Julian had a connection that was unrealistic based on the amount of time they knew each other.
There were so many positives in this book. Saundra Mitchell did a great job of writing and creating characters that I cared about. However, I did feel let down because I was waiting for this amazing second half that never happened until the last few chapters. Because of that I feel like this book would get a 2.5 out of 5 stars from me. I feel a little guilty about the rating because everything else was so great, but it was really noticeable when it didn’t work. I still wouldn’t hesitate to read a book by this author, because all of their other works were amazing.
2.5/5 Some issues, but Well-Written
**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I did not receive monetary compensation from it.**
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Happy Reading Everyone!