Aidan Brook has been hiding from the world for ten years, happily living in the middle of nowhere and not intending to change that any time soon, when her ex best friend, Sera, turns up on her doorstep with bad news. Those murders that happened all those years ago that made you run away? Well, they seem to be happening again. Aidan reluctantly joins Sera and returns to the scene of the murders, hoping to find who is responsible and put a stop to it for good, as she thought they had long ago.
On her side is the fact that Aidan and Sera are Elementals. They can control their own element. Aidan is a water, while Sera is fire, and the elements help shape their personalities. But the powers also come with a catch, since the murderer is killing those who are close to Elementals. Along for the ride are other Elementals, with varying degrees of power, as well as two shifters. As a group they work on finding and stopping the killer.
I don’t know how good a synopsis that is, but this book is definitely worth a look if you’re at all interested in urban fantasy, or similar. I really enjoyed it. It’s nice to have a new supernatural world, one that doesn’t rely on vampires and werewolves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of those things, but it’s refreshing to have a change, and especially one that doesn’t seem to be basing its world on previous myths and legends. While I don’t think the idea of controlling the elements is new, the history of the Elementals and how they came to be is something I haven’t come across before. There’s strong world building, but without too much exposition. A lot of first books in a series get too heavily bogged down with back story, or they can skirt that entirely to keep people guessing for the next book, which is frustrating. I think Broken Elements treads this line carefully, giving you just enough to keep you interested without giving everything away. There’s still a lot to learn about the world and I look forward to seeing where it goes as the series progresses.
One of my favourite things about the book is the friendship between Aidan and Sera. When the story begins they’ve been estranged for years, but they’ve never really lost their connection to each other. I liked seeing them reconnect, and there’s real affection between them. And one of the strongest parts of the book is the humour and excellent dialogue. These conversations felt real. The group of friends as a whole is very well written, and they all get personalities and a voice and back stories, when it could have been easy for them to get lost in the group.
I really liked Aidan as a main character, and the book works especially well when exploring her doubts and insecurities about her powers and heritage and how/where she fits in as a half-elemental. I like that Aidan feels, for want of a better word, human. Real. Even though she has supernatural powers she’s still very relatable, and she does make mistakes. There’s nothing worse than an impossibly perfect heroine.
Along with the mystery of who dunnit, there’s a nice, slow burning romance, just in case anyone was worried that was missing. It’s more hinted at for most of the book, but that’s nice, it is not rushed or forced. As this is a series it can afford to take its time and let us become invested. It makes sense to do that, but not all writers do.
I look forward to the second book in the series, and learning more about Aidan and her world. So roll on 2013, when we get the next installment.
Update, 26 February 2013: I am friends with the author but this is an honest review. I am now working with the author in a publishing company, although I was not at the time of writing this. It does not affect the content of my review.