Elemental

( 18 )

Overview

An action-packed fantasy adventure for fans of Ship Breaker! It is the future, and most of the population of the United States has been destroyed by the plague. Survivors have formed colonies on the barrier islands off the east coast of the country. In one small colony, almost all the members have powers to control wind, water, earth, and fire—all but sixteen-year-old Thomas. When the Guardians of the village are kidnapped by enemies seeking to take over their colony, it is up to Thomas and a small group of teens...

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Elemental

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Overview

An action-packed fantasy adventure for fans of Ship Breaker! It is the future, and most of the population of the United States has been destroyed by the plague. Survivors have formed colonies on the barrier islands off the east coast of the country. In one small colony, almost all the members have powers to control wind, water, earth, and fire—all but sixteen-year-old Thomas. When the Guardians of the village are kidnapped by enemies seeking to take over their colony, it is up to Thomas and a small group of teens to save them and preserve the mysteries of the island.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An absolutely fantastic start to a new series. Completely gripping and full of intrigue, revelation, mystery, and suspense. I highly recommend this book."—James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of the Maze Runner trilogy

"Plenty of action for readers who enjoy survival stories with a twist of the supernatural and a hint of romance."—SLJ

"A gripping science fiction survival story."—BCCB

"Readers...[will] like the action."—Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this postapocalyptic tale, first in a planned trilogy, a small colony of 15 survives on the island of Hatteras off the coast of North Carolina, their return to the mainland prevented by plague. Sixteen-year-old Thomas is treated like an untouchable by the colony’s Guardians because he is the only person on the island who lacks the power to control one of the four elements—earth, wind, water, or fire. When a hurricane threatens, Thomas and the colony’s other youths are sent to shelter on nearby Roanoke Island, only to discover that they have thus escaped a surprise attack by pirates whose captain believes that Thomas or his deaf brother holds the key to ending the plague. When Thomas and the others fight back, he learns he is not as powerless as he thought. John (Five Flavors of Dumb) hits several standard postapocalyptic tropes (plague, isolated community as sole bastion of civilization, scapegoated protagonist uncovering secrets), but creates engaging characters and provides plenty of mystery, adventure, and action. Ages 12–up. Agent: Ted Malawer, Upstart Crow Literary. (Nov.)
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Praise for Elemental:

"Engaging characters and plenty of mystery, adventure, and action." -Publishers Weekly

“Plenty of action for readers who enjoy survival stories with a twist of the supernatural and a hint of romance.” –School Library Journal

“The novel’s captivating storyline, rapid pace, and cliffhanger ending are sure to leave fans of novels like Grant’s Gone series absorbed with the action and anxious for a sequel.” –Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Children's Literature - Zella Cunningham
When the Guardians of a small colony of survivors are kidnapped from Hatteras Island, a small parcel of land off the coast of Roanoke, North Carolina, by pirates, the five remaining members must work together to rescue them. Before the plan can be carried out Thomas, Alice, Rose, Dennis, and Griffin, all below the age of twenty, suffer the loss of their innocence. The beliefs and family history told to them by the Guardians which shaped their actions and lives, are slowly revealed to be lies. But why would the Guardians lie? Why were they living in cabins on a small island with meager supplies when well-stocked Roanoke Island is just a short canoe ride away? Some questions are answered as the story unfolds. But the answers lead to more questions. Each person in the colony has been born with the gift of heightened awareness of an element: earth, fire, water, or wind. Everyone, it seems, except sixteen-year-old Thomas. Fifteen-year-old Alice's element is fire. Rose can read water. Dennis, the youngest member of the colony can predict storms using his wind element. And Griffin, Thomas' younger brother, although deaf, controls the element of earth. Thomas is treated differently by the others. His father is the only person who will touch him. The intriguing storyline urges the reader to keep turning pages, chapter after chapter. The final chapter raises more questions. Well-developed characters and an engaging, mystery loaded plot has appeal for the young adult reader. The promise of a continuing series is eagerly welcome. Reviewer: Zella Cunningham
VOYA - Rebecca Moore
In the future, a rat-borne plague has rendered the American mainland unlivable, so sixteen-year-old Thom's family lives in a tiny colony on Hatteras Island. Everyone save Thom has a magic-like "elemental" gift that helps the colony, so Thom's lack makes him worth "nothing." Only his father will even touch him, and doubtless his dreams of the lovely Rose and iconoclastic Alice will end in heartbreak. Then pirates come while all the teens are sheltering from a hurricane in nearby Roanoke, in a ruined town of forbidden preplague wonders. When the teens discover that the pirates have captured the adults and are coming for them—led by Captain Dare—they know they must act. As they strive to rescue their parents and themselves, the teens begin to uncover the secrets of Roanoke, their families' pasts, and themselves. Shades of the lost colony of Roanoke thread through this well-constructed and suspenseful dystopia, where secrets pile on secrets like dune sand—so many secrets that some readers may grow frustrated by the author's parsimonious explanations. The explanations are so incomplete that much remains unknown by the cliff-hanger ending, so a sequel clearly lies in the future. All the characters, however, are well-drawn and idiosyncratic—Thom is particularly sympathetic—making the human story as compelling as the enigmas of Roanoke and the Hatteras colonists. The descriptions of the physical world are lush and evocative as well. Recommend this to students who prefer their dystopias more enigmatic than desperate, though still with some violence. Reviewer: Rebecca Moore
VOYA - Alisa Billig
This story starts out with the opposite premise of usual fantasy books—the main character's superpower is his lack of one. This creates an unexpectedly emotional story of survival and self-discovery. Although a little too fast-paced and sometimes overly dramatic, the book offers a surprisingly accurate portrayal of human emotions. Fantasy readers who prefer more character development and fewer battle scenes will enjoy it. Elemental is best for middle schoolers with short attention spans. Reviewer: Alisa Billig, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Tapan Srivastava
John paints a descriptive picture, allowing readers to envision Skeleton Island (Roanoke), the pirates, and their ships. He also allows Alice, Thom, and Rose to grow, both together and individually, with Alice exploring the islands and Thom learning to keep his own secrets. In addition, John uses the adult Guardians to add questions and secrets to the islands, keeping readers in a state of confusion and curiosity. Elemental will appeal to teen mystery readers. Reviewer: Tapan Srivastava, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—When plague hit the mainland United States, a few people managed to escape to the Outer Banks. Now, 16-year-old Thomas is the only person on Hatteras Island without an Element, the supernatural ability to manipulate air, fire, earth, or water. When pirates kidnap the adults and attempt to take the island for their own, Thomas; his deaf younger brother; his best friend, Alice; his would-be girlfriend, Rose; and Rose's little brother hide out on Roanoke Island, where an abandoned community has been reduced to rubble in the wake of the plague and treacherous storms. As they defend themselves against desperate pirates, the teens slowly discover that their Guardians have been hiding secrets-particularly about Thomas-that could cost all of them their lives. A confusing start makes way for plenty of action for readers who enjoy survival stories with a twist of the supernatural and a hint of romance. Thomas and Alice are the focal characters as both are instrumental in defending the island. The eerie setting, with its skeletal buildings and mysterious past, is practically a character in itself. The mystery builds so slowly that some readers might abandon Elemental before the action really kicks in. For that reason, it is best recommended to patient readers who, like the characters, will fight for answers that don't come easily.—Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX
Kirkus Reviews
The lost colony of Roanoke Island meets Captain Kidd. Sixteen-year-old Thomas lives on Hatteras Island in a colony protected by the Guardians, a group of elders with magical powers fueled by the elements: water, fire, wind and water. Their children have inherited their special gifts--except for Thomas. His deaf younger brother, Griffin, however, is a seer who has visions of the future that are sometimes horrific and cause him to have seizures. The Guardians moved the colony to Hatteras to escape a plague that wiped out all other human life on the mainland. Now the colony is under siege by pirates who have kidnapped everyone but Thomas, Griffin and three other kids. John's post-apocalyptic alternate history starts off with a whine, but the pace and the mystery pick up once the adults are captured and the kids are left on their own. Characterizations don't dip too far below the surface, except when G-rated sparks flicker between Thomas and one of the teen girls stranded with him. Enter Captain Dare, the cutthroat leader of the pirates who attacked the colony. His presence, along with some old maps and paper fragments with the name "Virginia" scrawled on them point to a sequel. Readers may not catch all the loose historical connections, but they'll like the action in this occasionally exciting story of survival. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 12-16)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142425169
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 11/14/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 116,589
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Antony John (www.antonyjohn.net) won the Schneider Family Book Award for Five Flavors of Dumb. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with his family.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 24, 2012

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a re

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Penguin Young Readers Group and Netgalley.)
    16-year-old Thom is unique… in a bad way; the only person ever to have no ‘element’. Everyone else has a link to one of the elements – fire, earth, wind, or water. They can catch fish, predict storms, or start fires with their bare hands, but Thom can’t do anything, and everybody thinks that he is a ‘nothing’.

    During a storm, Thom, his brothers, and some of the other kids from the island where he lives head over to a hurricane shelter in an abandoned town on another island. Problem is that in the morning when the ‘Guardians’ – the older inhabitants of the island (their parents and siblings), should be coming to the hurricane shelter to collect them, they don’t arrive, and when the kids look over to the island where they live, there are huge plumes of smoke – their home is burning.

    When they row back to their home island to find out what has happened, the guardians are all missing, their homes are burned to the ground, and sailing just off the island is a pirate ship.

    When the pirates realise that the kids are back on the island, they come back in search of them. They believe they one of them is ‘the solution’ (a cure to the plague that has forced them to live in isolation). Now the kids must not only stop themselves from being taken by the pirates, but must also try to rescue their families.
    Who is ‘the solution’ though? What do they believe ‘the solution’ can really do? And is Thom really a nothing?


    This was a great story. There was plenty of mystery surrounding each of the kids and their abilities, and what the pirates wanted them for. I must say that it isn’t quite as scary as a lot of dystopian books that I have read – no zombies here, but it was still a great read.

    I liked the different abilities that each of the kids had, and how they were able to use them. I hated how poor Thom was made to feel like a ‘nothing’, and how the others treated him because they thought he had no element. He was totally made to feel like a second class citizen which was really unfair.

    There was a hint at romance, but no real romance storyline. There were 2 girls who both seemed to like Thom, but it never went any further than that.

    There wasn’t a lot of backstory to be had, but there was enough to set the scene, and give an idea of the sort of world where the story took place.

    There were also plenty of little twists in the story that I really appreciated; especially the one at the end! I totally didn’t expect the revelation at the end, but it makes me wonder if there may be a sequel to this book in the works?

    Overall; a great YA dystopian – not too scary, and no romance.
    7.5 out of 10.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    I just finished the book and it was wonderful. i cant wait for t

    I just finished the book and it was wonderful. i cant wait for the second book by antony john - FireBrand. This book gave great detail and wonderful scenes full of suspense and action. I could not stop reading this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    ¿Elemental¿ by, Antony John Thomas is a sixteen-year-old boy

    “Elemental” by, Antony John




    Thomas is a sixteen-year-old boy growing up on an island with a handfull of others who have survived a plague. The people in this colony all have special elemental powers, with the exception of Thomas who was born without one. When a group of pirates invade the island and take all the adults captive, Thomas and the other kids have to find a way to rescue them and save their home. 




    Elemental has a story and characters that will appeal to a wide range of readers. 
    *Thomas is a relatable character and the story is told from his perspective. I felt sorry for him and how isolated he was throughout the story. 
    *Alice and Rose are very different from one another but they both care for Thomas. The girls add great layers to this story and I liked them both very much. 
    *Griffin is Thomas’ little brother who doesn’t talk. He and Thomas use sign language to communicate and Griffin is one of Thomas’ only friends. 
    The adults don’t have a very big part in this story but I liked it that way. The focus is on the kids and how they are dealing with a situation that is not in their control. It is very interesting to see them cope and change as the story goes along. 
    Elemental is obviously the first in what will be a series and I am excited to see where the author takes these characters. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2012

    Exciting story!

    If you enjoyed the Percy Jackson series by Riordan or the Virals series by Reichs, check out this first of a new series by Antony John - you will love it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2012

    Aang

    Talking to one of azula's friends are you?

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2014

    Map

    Each result is labeled, so explore!

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  • Posted April 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I liked it a lot

    So this was a little different of a book read for me but I still very much enjoyed it ¿¿ It was gripping and full of intrigue, revelation, mystery (like wow) and sunspace that I was not expecting... Like at all. Ok look the book started off slow as heck but it picked up and when it did... I was a LOT more entertained in the second have then the first Hehe anyway it's a good gripping science fiction survival story and an unexpectedly emotional story of survival and self-discovery if you like those kinds of things you would like this book. And I can't wait to read the next one ¿¿

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2013

    Leafy

    Name:Leafy Age:16 Gender:Female Eye color:One eye is green the other is Brown Appearence:Usally wears a leaf green dress and green sneakers. Has dark brown hair and us 5"2' tall. Wears a leaf pendent to symbolize life. Personality:Kind and Caring. Despises violence and lives animals. Element:Life Pet:A deer named Twig.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2013

    a good read.

    a good read.

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  • Posted January 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I was all over the place with this one. There were some very suc

    I was all over the place with this one. There were some very successful things, some just successful, some so-so and some that just didn't work for me. It's all jumbled up with things I wish were included, somethings I wish weren't included and things I can’t be sure about.

    While I prefer the the character driven novel,but simply liking the main character and going for a roller coaster ride still works for me. Those books for are usually not great, but good personally. <i>Elemental</i>
    is one of those books. <i>Elemental</i>
    wasn’t character driven, but I still feel like I would’ve, could’ve, should’ve like it better, had some elements turned out differently. I hoped for more and it felt just out of reach, which is just so frustrating.

    In the end, I will say that it was a fast paced, action oriented enjoyable read, depending on what your preferences are. Not a recommend to everyone for reading book. It worked as the first book in a trilogy as a set up, a draw in and a story that feels complete holding its own. There’s no real cliff hanger but an open ending. I will be reading the next book for sure to find out what happens next but it’s not a burning need to read it.I’m looking forward to it though and I’m hoping the next book recovers, strengthens, and clarifies to meets the high expectations I had for the first book.

    Loved the concept, the cover, the premise, and the world. The characters were okay, only fell in love with two (and neither was the main character). There were some issues there and it was hard to connect/become attached to almost all of them. The pacing was fast and good but considering my other issues, I wish there was more of slowed down beginning. Maybe a foreword to set up what the colony and its people were like under normal/non-dramatic circumstances. I think that would've helped alleviate some problems, and form a better connection instead of instantly putting the book in constant action and upheaval. The beginning was hard to keep everyone and everything straight. I wish there was a reference in the back to help with this. It’s just hard to get a handle on who these characters are, their relationships, their dynamics and what their baseline is, when we get <i>told</i>
    things about them in the beginning and the rest of the book is spent changing everything. It felt so topsy-turvy. There really is <i> a lot </i>
    going on here, and it maybe just too much to push into one book.

    More Swiss Family Robinson than a dystopian feel for me. The only time it really felt like a dystopian is when Thom was trying to figure out everyday things from 'the before'. (Of course, not necessarily dystopian, aliens would have the same reaction.) The Plague talk is certainly dystopian but really it didn't land. Hearing about what happened should've packed a punch, but instead I felt like a neutral observer to another planet's problems. (Maybe I’m the alien here.) I think that comes from the kid's own lack of really grasping how far widespread and devastating this event was. I think (hope) this will be amped up with the next book, since this is the set up. Especially due to the ending, with it's reveal and subsequent questions, is so very dystopian. Otherwise, it was a paranormal magical powers group of people stranded on a island. Which isn't a bad thing, just not what I was expecting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2012

    Healer Den

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    Kits

    Firekit shoots fire from his paws, lighting up the landscape. Airkit weaves a tornado. Earthkit kicks rocks at the target. Waterkit slaps her target with water. All the kits are the four elements.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2012

    May

    Yeah...

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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