Book Review: Against The Elements by Esme Carpenter

I have had the privilege of reading this book prior to publication. This is a young teen fantasy, that was written by a teen – that is, when Esme Carpenter was a teenager. She has revised it at the age of twenty.

The story is about a girl called Delphi, living on an island that doesn't state, but has the definite feel, of a Mediterranean island. She is a servant in a regimented household, but quickly gets thrust into an adventure that is both life-threatening and has the state of the world at stake. A familiar line? Yes, but what makes originality isn't the macro-plot – there are no such new beasts anymore – but it is the way all components of the title hang together. It is original and fascinating.

The land where Delphi lives – the world – isn't just that. The universe is held together by the balance, and the co-existence, of worlds that represent the four elements. And it is Delphi's task to journey through these four elemental lands as part of a quest – one I would rather not spoil by divulging to you, the good reader.

This story has it all that a young teen would love (and possibly a mature pre-teen), and most importantly it excludes what young teens don't want – they don't want over-indulgence of love, nor the angst of 'teenagerhood'. This story is adventure-driven with nail-biting episodes. It has magic, deities, and battles. More importantly, it has strong characters, a sense of what evil is about, and what goodness entails. It is also about companionship and faith.
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I heartily recommend this story to children from about twelve to fifteen, but adults will love it as well. A deserving 5 stars.
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