Elements – Entered in 2018 Contest
Elements by Nia Markos is a paranormal fantasy novel aimed at a young adult audience. It tells the story of Alexa, a young woman on the cusp of adulthood who is about to find out that the world is more complicated than she ever imagined. Alexa is forced to come to grips with her emerging powers and newly uncovered ancestry while racing against the clock to stop an evil warlock from destroying the world.
The biggest problem with Elements is the pacing. It is too rushed. So much time is spent establishing the world and then rushing from plot point to plot point, there is very little time to really get to know the characters. This seems partly by design; Alexa and Aiden are fighting against the clock, after all. However, the book would benefit from slowing down a bit more. This would allow the reader to spend more time getting to know who the characters are rather than just how the characters function within the plot. The story elements that a reader would expect in a novel of this type are present, there just needs to be a little more of everything.
Alexa’s story is set against a richly described, fully-imagined backdrop. Nia Markos has worked to create a well-defined magical realm within our own modern world. More than that the existence of this other realm is completely believable. A lot of time and effort has been put into defining and building the kingdom of Eruva, which is no small feat. Markos has done an excellent job of illustrating the teenage experience, not shying away from how emotionally overwhelming and confusing it often is. Alexa is a solid character, she has just as many flaws as she does strengths. Elements is a good introduction to The Crystal Series; readers looking for a quick read set in a contemporary fantasy world will not be disappointed.
Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.