GENRE(S): Paranormal Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
PUBLISHER: Match Books (Defunct), Self Published
COVER DESIGNER: Damonza
Ten years ago, Aidan Brook and her best friend, Sera Blais, nearly died in a warehouse fire, a fire that Sera, a fire elemental, started. After the fire, Aidan disappeared off the grid to a small cottage in the Oregon wilderness, deliberately breaking ties with all of her friends and family, overwhelmed with guilt. After all, four people had died in the fire: a homeless man, the woman she and Sera were trying to save, the hired gun Sera’s father had paid to guard the woman, and the serial killer Aidan and Sera had been hunting.
The death of the serial killer was the only reason Aidan could sleep at night after helping cause the deaths of three innocent people—or at least, after failing to save them. As a water elemental, her job had been to use her power over water to keep Sera’s elemental fires in check. But when she'd needed her powers most, they’d failed her. Now, she was torn up because she can’t figure out why. When Sera shows up on her doorstep saying that the serial killer has resurfaced, Aidan’s worst fear comes true: the people in the fire died for nothing.
Aidan joins Sera in the hunt for the killer, determined to redeem herself. The women are joined by a weak earth elemental, Vivian, whose lack of elemental powers are made up for by her hacker skills, a weak ice elemental, Brian, whose girlfriend was killed by the serial killer ten years ago, and two shifters, a race whose existence Aidan didn’t even know about until Sera picks one up in her car. The team race against time—and the FBI—to stop the serial killer who always seems to know what they’re doing before they do. Meanwhile Aidan tries to figure out why she seems broken somehow, unable to control her element when she needs it most.
While the plot sometimes drags as the team waits for the killer’s next move—likely an accurate portrayal of a manhunt, yet slow to read—Aidan’s psychological narrative fills in the gaps for the most part. There are also times when exposition of the the elemental race feels forced, probably because the writer is setting up a five-book series with this novel (the fourth is out soon). But those are the only weaknesses of the book. The unpredictable ending has multiple twists, at least two of which you will not see coming no matter how good you are at solving mysteries.
Broken Elements is an enjoyable urban fantasy read for those who like the genre. Aidan and Sera’s relationship hold the book together, and the plot twists at the ending just plain work.
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Katie Rose Guest Pryal is a novelist and freelance journalist living in Chapel Hill. She reads all the time—and all kinds of books—from Booker Prizers to indie urban fantasies. Her novel, ENTANGLEMENT, came out June 15. She is active on Twitter (@krgpryal), Facebook, and her blog - katieroseguestpryal.com.''
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