Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
(The Essential Elements, #2)
Publication date: July 24th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Valerie Moore is an Elemental, a person who commands one of the classical elements of wind, water, fire, or earth. She’s special, though. She controls two—fire and water—though sometimes it seems like they control her.
After the accidental exposure of Elementals to humanity, Valerie finds herself—and all of her kind—struggling to attain equality. Three different groups fight to secure leadership, and with all of their hidden agendas, she doesn’t know which side to choose. The balance between peaceful cohabitation and all-out war is precarious, at best.
When a chance meeting brings Val and earth Elemental Cade Landston back together, everything changes. She realizes what she knew in the beginning—that he’s the one she wants. Her desire to win him over draws her closer to him, and his vengeful mission to hunt down her murderous grandfather brings them both closer to trouble.
From mysterious doppelgangers to reckless rescue missions, scapegoat bombings, and evolving Elemental powers, Valerie strains to keep up.
All she knows is she must stop her grandfather at all costs. To do so, she has to figure out the truth, but how can she do so when almost everyone she knows has been telling lies?
When I awoke, my head was throbbing. The ground I lay on was made of smooth stone, and dirt and tiny rocks rolled under my palms as I pushed myself up. I was in a cage of some sort, and I was in a cave.
I quickly scanned the cavern and saw Xavier on the other side, also caged. He was sitting with his back against the wall, sleeping. My stomach twisted; he looked so much like Cade.
“Xavier,” I whispered. He didn’t stir. I picked up a pebble and threw it. “Xavier!” The pebble never left my cage. It had gotten just between the bars and immediately disintegrated.
What the…? How the hell had that happened?
I created a snowball and threw it—poof! Gone. Ice ball, fireball—same result: disintegration. Angrily, I punched the bars, half expecting my hand to vanish or at least bounce back as if I’d hit a force field. Instead, my knuckles smashed into them. With a yelp that finally woke Xavier, I hunched over and cradled my throbbing fist. I had to have broken a bone.
“It’s no use,” he said tiredly. “It’s element-proof.”
“Huh?” I said through clenched teeth.
“Earth, fire, water, wind…they don’t work against the cage, but as you’ve found out, normal things do.” He stood up and moved closer, squeezing the bars as he looked at me. “Valerie?”
“Yep,” I said as I looked the cage over. I reached out and slid my damaged hand through—no sense wasting the good one—but nothing happened. Hmm. I moved closer, this time reaching around to touch the padlock. Again, nothing. I glanced at Xavier. “Have you tried to pick it?”
“No…” he said skeptically. “Why would I know how to do something like that? I’m not a criminal. Are you?”
“No.” It made me wish I’d had a more wily childhood, or at least a more useful one. I sighed and looked around the cave. “Have you seen Cade?”
Xavier contemplated. I figured he didn’t know if he should trust me.
“Yeah, he was around,” he finally said. “When he realized the cage was element-proof, he left to find a key. He hasn’t come back yet.”
That last sentence was laced with an underlying worry; Xavier seemed to think Cade should have been back by now. Worry crept into the pit of my stomach, too.
“It’s all right,” I said, maybe more for myself than him. “He’ll be here any minute.”
Xavier nodded. Silence stretched out for a few odd minutes. Our blue eyes met. “Thank you,” he said out of nowhere. “For saving me all those months ago.”
I scoffed. “Don’t thank me for that.”
My grandfather had been trying to teach Cade and Xavier’s father, Henrie, a lesson in Elemental power. He was demonstrating how an Earth couldn’t kill another Earth, and the accompanying lesson, of course, was that an Earth could kill any of the other Elementals, if he was strong enough. Xavier was the only one who wasn’t an Earth; he was a Water, so he got to be the lucky victim.
Aside from the fact that murder was morally wrong, sitting back and allowing it to happen was almost equally as criminal, plus I’d known Cade would never forgive me for letting his brother die. For all those reasons, I had saved him, but I didn’t need thanked for it. It was what any decent, able-bodied person would have done.
Elle Middaugh lives in the Allegheny Mountains outside of Clearfield, Pennsylvania, with her wonderful husband and three beautiful children. Most of her time is spent raising kids, writing stories, playing video games, reading, and attempting to keep a clean house.
She’s a proud Navy wife, a frazzle-brained mother, a fan of health and fitness, a lover of hot tea and iced tea, and a believer in happily ever afters.
***Check out the blog tour schedule and follow along the tour.***