August 1st, 2013
Water by Terra Harmony
I found out about this book after I re-watched Avatar: The Last Airbender, and searched eagerly for a book that featured elemental power in fantasy novels. Let me just say, Avatar raises your expectations way too high. This was my first attempt at reading a book featuring elemental magic as a main focus of the plot. I was deeply disappointed.
Before I go on about the things I disliked, I will say this. I do appreciate that it focuses A LOT on the environment. Too many of us don't think our earth matters, until the problem is too big to fix. I have to commend the author for trying to bring awareness to eco-related issues.
Now with that being said, I have to say I didn't quite enjoy this book. If I didn't know any better , I would say this was an erotica novel. And I get it, people have sex. What I don't quite like is it being described in great detail. It makes me wonder why women judge men so much for watching porn, when there are so many women READING the same thing. It isn't much different if you ask me, and it grosses me out to read "this" plunge or penetrate "that."
Plot and Storyline: I can only give this book .25 points out of a total 1.00, as the book lacked too many flaws in it's pacing. Half the time I didn't know where the story was going, and i put the book down three times before I completed it recently. The author was not a consistent storyteller. The book was supposed to center around a woman whom discovered she was a "Gaia" , or a woman whom can tame Air, Water, Fire, and Earth. Don't expect "The Legend of Korra." So much of the plot focused on the main protagonist being held hostage, and then upon figuring out her purpose, ignored the training. The world-building was passable, so that's where I gave the point, as they did travel a bit, and I did like that aspect of the plot. But the book was a bit predictable, and at times, I wanted to rip the pages and use them for toilet paper.
Character Development: As far as character development, it was poor at best to me. I did relate the the main character, but that was until penis became a thing to do out of boredom. She and her love interest slept together before I ever felt chemistry for them. I just didn't care that they were attracted to each other, because I didn't get why they were. I liked that she wasn't a teenager, she was 25+. But I expect a teenager to be stupid, so the main protagonist's choices seemed immature at times. The backstory they choose to show seemed rushed, and there was more drama than plot. I suppose it deserves .25 points for conflict, because it had plenty. But outside of it being eco-friendly, the story was not very unique. It didn't move me the way that I wanted it to.
Grammar: I will be the first to say I'm not a grammar nazi,. The writing style could have been stronger, but I believe it was better than most indie efforts(this book was independently published, and upon it's success was offered representation). While the POV is distinguishable in first person, I honestly just didn't think the POV was consistent enough to gain my quarter point. The best thing about it was the editing, as there were mistakes but I believe they were minimal, not like typical indie books. The beats between dialogue weren't what I was looking for in a book either. Sometimes characters talked too much for my taste, and it often pushed back the story for me.
Diversity: Well this will be easy. There was known. This book reminded me of Aliens 3. You know? The one everyone refuses to talk about? The disaster that is Aliens 3? It focused on a woman being surrounded by men in a foreign place. But every single person was Caucasian. There wasn't even a gay or two in the story. They went to Ecuador, and while a character with the ability to bend water(who couldn't speak English, mind you) seemed promising, like any POC, he's killed off as if he lacks importance. It also did little to boost the self esteem of women, especially rape victims. There were a few scenes that featured rape, and I have to say, I could've done without the main character "almost" having an orgasm at the hands of her rapist. Really? I know you must do what you have to, in order to survive a rape, but I would've liked to see a better job. I respect that the author didn't attempt to make it seem like it didn't bother her, as I'm sure her reaction is similar to most victims, but I just didn't like it. I also noticed a lot of hints of Buddhism and Hinduism, which of course, makes me assume other people's cultures are more interesting when they are told through the eyes of Caucasian characters. The research was there so it gets a quarter point, but it's just barely.
Misc: I'll award .50 points as the cover art and title do fit the book. However the character descriptions were not well done. I only knew one character was blond,and the other was dark haired. Her love interest and the villain mentioned being brothers, but it seemed as if the author forgot that, as the villain hit on the love interest's sister quite a lot. I barely knew what the main character looked like. Character names were ok, but plain. I tend to look for unique, even if at times they're hard to remember.
Overall I will read the sequel just to see if the series is worth continuing. If I don't like the sequel I definitely won't invest further. I rate it a 1.75
I don't think I'd want to see these characters on the big screen =/