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Children of the Elements

Brenna and Adara are twins living in England that spend their days with tutors and fancy automated machines. When not working on their schooling they’re reading from the Grimoire. From the Grimoire they learn of the Elemental Gods and pretend they were them. It wasn’t until they moved to Massachusetts that they began to realize they were different. On their first day of school they meet twin boys, Dimitri and Wyndham that share their same last name, Devins, as well as strange white streaks of hair. From there they realize they all have over-sized pets, a toad, lizard, owl and rat that just found the children and attached themselves to them. Slowly as they get to know each other they develop strange powers, telepathy, the ability to control elements, and the mysterious Grimoire that each has a part of starts morphing before their eyes. What does it all mean? How are they connected? Why are strange things happening to them? What happens when the stories they read as children suddenly start coming to life?

Children of the Elements by Ora Wanders, is set in a steampunk reality of the semi modern world. There are parts that remind me of early frontier times, the one room school house, the simple country life, but then she adds in the steampunk elements of automated machinery and clothing choices. It is a mix of modern and old and blends together in a fascinating way that makes sense to the story line. Each set of twins have similar backgrounds, only one parent, both moving from homes with lots of machinery to a simpler life and only bringing a few things with them, the Grimoire that seems incomplete to each set. When they meet, it is literally like puzzle pieces fitting together. The story is exceptionally well written and everything flows naturally and story elements occur organically. I could picture the characters clearly, the bickering and playing around that you expect from young adults comes out. I found it all relatable, even in the magical setting.

This was a book that I didn’t want to put down. The plot moves quickly, the character development is integrated with the plot, so you’re not weighed down with back stories and character development early on. All that information comes out as you meet the characters and see them interacting with their pets, teacher, and each other. They are typical teenagers with attitudes and short tempers, but you see them grow from the early pages to the end. Without giving away key elements, I can say that all four children are able to grow and see their potential while still retaining a child like wonder of the world. It has all the elements a reader of fantasy could want; magic, conflict, family drama, growth, and an open ending to continue the saga.

One of the most amazing things about this novel is the author. Ora Wanders is only ten years old! I could not believe this when I finished the novel and wanted to learn more about the author because I loved the book that much. I am looking forward to the second book in the series and much more from this amazing young lady.

Pages: 310 | ISBN: 1797718002

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The King’s Horse

The King's Horse - Book 1: A Mondus Fumus Series by [Dreece, Adam]

A world of spies, invention, battles for power, and secret societies. A brilliant scientist, Christophe Creangle, is plagued by his inner struggle to not make any inventions that can be turned into weapons, unfortunately he is one of the greatest inventors of all time. Inventors are known as Conventioneer’s in this world and they are governed closely by whatever ruling body they happen to reside in. All inventions are turned over to the ruler in order to help protect and build their power base. After escaping from the king and his men, Christophe searches for his daughter. His daughter Christina inherited his sharp mind but after years of separation their relationship is strained. A young girl named Mounira acts as the go between for them and together the three of them reside in the Moufan compound. The Moufan however, is going through a power struggle and change; what use to be a neutral community is becoming a dominate power through force.

Adam Dreece has continued his saga of his created world, the Mondus Fumus, with a new series called The King’s Horse. While there is some character and history tie back to his original series, The Yellow Hoods, this novel stands alone and is ready to introduce readers to the world he has invented. Adam Dreece describes his world as a combination of steam punk and fairy tale. This novel sets up the series providing background to how key players got to be where they are.

Through back and forth timelines we get the history of Christophe Creangle, his inventions and how they have helped shape the world he lives in. We also learn why his relationship with his daughter Christina is so challenging. This is probably the one part of the book I dislike. There are multiple time lines following several story lines that all intertwine. Given the complex character development I would have preferred it to be chronological. Aside from that distraction of having to make sure you were reorienting yourself to the right time period, the separate story lines were well connected to make sense in how they all fit together so you don’t feel like you are reading a bunch of separate novels.

I really enjoy the world that Adam Dreece has built in this series. It is like reading about the industrial revolution with a fantasy twist taking place during medieval times. It is a bizarre and enticing mix of elements that draw you in and take you out of reality. While giving the reader this mix of elements, the characters are highly complex, and you learn more and more about them with each chapter. While some of the characters like Rumpere are easy to identify as the “bad guy,” others are much more discreet, and you are left wondering where their loyalties lay. The characters of Oskar and Petra, a brother and sister duo, at times feel like filler, but as the story progresses you see their importance coming into perspective.

Overall this novel is a great set up to the series. I look forward to reading the rest of the series and seeing how all the twists and turns change and to see what the real end game is. The characters come to life and draw the reader in, you almost think you know how some will respond and when they don’t you are left turning pages to find out what happens next.

Pages: 264 | ASIN: B07BHWG5HR

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