Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Review - The Five Elements (The Alchemancer: Book One)

Dancing on Wednesday! How is everyone this fine morning? Happy Hump-day! Today, I'm bringing you all a book review from my overly massive list that goes hand-in-hand with the Indie Fever 2014 Reading Challenge. Yes, I'm finally back to the novels on that list. Yay! From now until I get caught unawares, every Wednesday will be a book review. Other days, watch out, because I have some awesome stuff planned! What's Indie Fever you ask? Well, allow me to enlighten you. IF2014 is a group of folks who got together and pledged different levels of support for the Indie author community. We promised to read a certain number of self-published books for the year by authors we've never read before. It's so much fun! You can join us here (it's never too late). Just click the link, grab the badge, add yourself to the linky thing with your level of pledge, and get to reading! I know I'm late, but I had to actually finish the book before writing a review. I'm not one of those that reads only part.

Here's my list for 2014 (something I curate during my 12 Days of Christmas event every year):

Rebecca Trogner The Last Keeper's Daughter Amazon Kindle $7.99
Scott Marlowe The Five Elements REVIEW BELOW
L.K. Evans Keepers of Arden: The Brothers Volume 1 REVIEW HERE
Sarah Mäkelä The Witch Who Cried Wolf REVIEW HERE
Felicia Tatum Masked Encounters REVIEW HERE
Peprah Boasiako The Hitman Amazon Kindle $0.9
David T Griffith The Bestiarum Vocabulum REVIEW HERE
C. S. Janey Surrender To You Amazon Kindle $2.51
Thaddeus White Sir Edric's Temple REVIEW HERE
Gloria Piper Finnegan's Quest Amazon Kindle $4.99
Elle Todd The Elect Amazon Kindle $2.99
Heather Topham Wood The Memory Witch REVIEW HERE
N. L. Greene Illusions Begin REVIEW HERE
J. A. Huss Tragic REVIEW HERE
Morgan Wylie Silent Orchids Amazon Kindle **FREE**
Laura Howard The Forgotten Ones Amazon Kindle $2.99
Pauline Creeden Sanctuary REVIEW HERE
Casey Bond Reap REVIEW HERE 
Casey Bond Devil Creek REVIEW HERE
Skylar Hamilton Burris The Strange Marriage of Anne de Bourgh Amazon Kindle $2.99
Christina Marie Morales Ambience Amazon Kindle $0.99
Tamar Hela Feast Island Amazon Kindle $2.99
Molly Taggart Off Target Amazon Kindle $2.99
S. G. Daniels The Druid's Doorway REVIEW HERE
Misty Provencher The Fly House Amazon Kindle $0.99

I threw all the titles in a hat and drew them out. Now, I have a tackling list order. No, I'm not gonna share it with you. *grin*

Let's get to what you all came here for, eh? Here's a little about the book up for review today:

Title: The Five Elements (The Alchemancer: Book One)
Author: Scott Marlowe
Genre: Young Adult Epic Fantasy
Length (print): 389 pages
Buy Links: Amazon Kindle $0.99  ~  Paperback $14.16

Synopsis:
Aaron—scholar, alchemist, and sorcerer's apprentice—wants nothing more than to study his tomes, perform his experiments, and spend time with his best friend, Shanna. Except for the studying and the experiments, Shanna wants the same, though with the occasional romp about the city and plenty of games of crutchit thrown in, too.

Their routines—and their lives—are thrown into chaos when an elemental attack is launched against their home. Aaron thinks Shanna killed, while Aaron himself is forced to flee for his life. For Shanna, who survives that fateful night, the greatest adventure of her life is about to begin. Only the worst of nightmares awaits Aaron: pursued by dwarves, hell hounds, and a demon who will not stop until he is dead, the only thing keeping him alive is his own resourcefulness and an eslar mercenary whose reputation as a killer might make him the worst threat of all.

Though Aaron and Shanna travel different paths, their purpose is joined when they individually learn of the mysterious Fifth Element. Shanna sees it as the final piece in the puzzle that is her destiny. To Aaron's logical mind, it is an impossible ambiguity. Whatever the answer, the Fifth Element draws them back together and into a final confrontation not as allies, but as adversaries.

***Will not appear in review elsewhere! I have a little bit of an issue with the blurb for this title. It gives away some of the key plot points that kept me reading. I'm soooo glad I didn't read it before I started. I would've been very upset. That being said, I love the cover for this book. It's colorful and captivating in a great way.***

Okay, I'm getting to the story inside right now.

I snagged a copy of this book during an event on my blog where I allowed authors to pitch titles to me for consideration. The Five Elements got me from the sample and I happily purchased the novel and added it to my TBR list for 2014. I'm a fan of fantasy, so this was right up my breezeway. Let's move to the good stuff you really want to know about.

From a Reader's Perspective:
I've been reading on this book for a while, putting it down and picking it up again. In the beginning, the characters didn't click with me on a care level, and I had a difficult time worrying about what would happen to them next. Pacing was a bit slow at the start but picked up about halfway through. I'm glad I didn't give up on this title! Once the action started, it never stopped. I was dragged through a world of sorcery and alchemists that was well built and kept me guessing through a number of turns. There was an excellent plot and a sub-plot I rather enjoyed, because it tied in with the main story well. But, I had problems with the characters' names and kept getting them confused. Too many began with the same letter: E. Both girls had similar first names, too (both beginning with an S); and that threw me off at times. There are several POVs in this book, and a couple of head-hops resulted. Having to turn off my editor's brain while reading isn't easy, but this is one of those titles I had to do that with. While the story was good, there were errors in the writing mechanics. Let's move on to that.

From an Editor's Perspective:
Too many pronoun confusions left me wondering at times if one of the characters was inflicting harm upon him/herself or upon another. As I mentioned before, the characters' names were too similar and I kept having to flip back to see who the heck I was reading about. Also, homophones were confused here and there. One glaring error was in the use of the word brooch when it should've been broach. Small things a reader may not understand, but will know something is "off." That being said, all this had minimal impact on the story itself, but did play a part.

Rating:
1 Star for an awesome sub-plot that tied into the main plot seamlessly
1 Star for world building
1 Star for surprising me a couple of times
.5 Star for pacing after the first half of the book
-.5 Star for confusing me with the names
.25 Star for quality of story and sentence construction
-.75 Star for pronoun, character names, and homophone oopsies
Overall: 3.75 stars out of 5. But I round up, so this book gets a 4. Overall, a clean read suitable for teens with epic world building.

What do you think? Do you enjoy fantasy?

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

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