First of all, if there’s ever such a thing as a scratch-and-taste book, I nominate this one. There’s so much wonderful description of foods and drinks that my mouth was watering several times. Really, there’s wonderful description of everything – which is great in a fantasy novel such as this. The writing gives a clear picture of what the author had in mind, but it’s not so overly done that your own imagination doesn’t have room to create pictures.
As for the story itself, I really enjoyed the interesting mix of magic in an apparently alternate/future setting. Not a lot is said about what happened to the world between now and then, but it’s clear that some magical force opened up, at least for some. (At least, this is what I assume is going on, since I’ve never seen flying trout.) The use of the Elements and the goddess as the source of this magic was really cool. With the rings involved and the fact that a person’s magic ties to either Air, Fire, Water, or Earth, it reminded me a little of Captain Planet but way, way, way better.
The characters are great, mostly. A big focus of this story is FAMILY, and it was a pleasure to see such a close sibling relationship between the two girls as well as with Gram, who for all intents and purposes is a stepmother/single parent. The use of Cole as the love interest made me really, really happy – he’s cute and loving and romantic, but he also is supportive and respects Mara as a fully competent human being. I also loved that Meg, the little sister, is a strong young girl with tons of personality rather than just being a kid in need of saving.
I will say that the danger isn’t as fleshed out as you might expect. You don’t really see much of what the bad guys are up to. I won’t spoil anything, but the main bad “guy” was an interesting change-up from a lot of what I’m used to reading. But, I wasn’t always super clear on what the dark magic was exactly, or what they were trying to stop it being used for. Also, the sudden appearance of an important (I would think) character turned out to be a little flat for me.
Overall, this story was heartwarming and a fun fantasy use of magic in a way I don’t recall seeing before. The writing itself is pretty basic and easy for teens to read (I’m assuming that’s the main audience). There were some typos or formatting issues every now and then, but not enough to completely distract as I was reading.
See it on Amazon!