Author: Nia Markos
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Young Adult
Elements (Book One—The Crystal Series) by Nia Markos is an imaginative Young Adult Urban Fantasy. The book starts out in the setting of Alba with some backstory that sets up the current plot.
Queen Eliana has discord with her general Elsam over his misuse of the Kaemorra stone and she exiles him into darkness. Meanwhile, Elsam has used the stone to disrupt the barrier between the celestial and the human world. After his 1000 years in exile, Elsam aims to take over the human world. From that premise the plot of this story grows.
The audience is quickly introduced to a group of gifted young people, who must now work together to save the world from Elsam’s nefarious plans. From this point, much of the story’s action happens in modern-day America.
The book has a large cast of characters, though not all of them receive much character development. Many have special abilities or are immortal. The main character is Alexa. She is a Witch-Sidhe hybrid with numerous powers, such as telepathy.
She is emotionally bonded to Aiden, and their fates are tied together. Like many young adult novels with romantic themes, the course of love does not run smoothly. There are others vying for Alexa’s attention. Alexa is also drawn to Liam, who happens to be Aiden’s brother. Simultaneously, Liam is involved with Rina, who is another Sidhe.
At the outset of Alexa’s part of the story, the reader learns she’s had a troubled, unsettled life. She is supposed to move to New Orleans with her mother. Upon her arrival, she decides she’s unhappy and leaves for Massachusetts. There, she makes her own life, meeting Bet, who becomes her roommate.
Through Bet, Alexa meets the other key players (Aiden, Liam, and Rina). Meanwhile, mysterious things start to happen to her. She begins to realize her magical powers and discovers her bond with Aiden. As Alexa comes into her powers, her newfound friends must protect her.
She learns more about her past and her previously unknown lineage. Then, she becomes wrapped up in the quest to find the Kaemorra stone and save the world. The book ends on a solid cliffhanger, with several plot points left unclear, leaving the audience to read book two to read the exciting continuation of the story.
Markos has created an intricate story within a universe of her design. It can be quite engaging to enter this world and join along with an interesting cast of young people as they work to protect it.
The story has themes that can be seen in other popular young adult and fantasy books such as: Twilight, Beautiful Creatures, The Mortal Instruments, and The Lord of the Rings. Readers who enjoyed those works are likely to enjoy Elements as well. This being the start of a Trilogy allows for an ongoing story, again much like those other popular young adult fantasy books.
However, Elements does have a few shortcomings. The beginning of the book was difficult to follow with jumps between timeframes and places. Some portions of the book were slow-paced, and it seems the overall plot could have been pulled together to be a bit more focused. For example, there were two chapters of side dialogue that occurred while main characters were sleeping. It felt somewhat extraneous, although perhaps those moments will show more importance in the next two novels.
Elements is an interesting start to a planned trilogy. This story is imaginative and complex, set within a unique universe designed by the author. This book will be well-liked by fans of young adult fantasy books. Elements has the right “elements” for a great screenplay and feature film.
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