Book Review: Root Bound (Emma and The Elementals #1) by Tanya Karen Gough

emma root bound coverTitle: Root Bound (Emma and The Elementals #1)
Author: Tanya Karen Gough
Genre: YA Fantasy
Age Group: MG/YA
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

How far will you go to find your way home?

Emma and her father are always on the move, travelling from place to place as her father’s work demands. Their new home, however, is different. There’s a frightening woman who lives down the hall: she bears an uncanny resemblance to a witch. A mysterious light comes from her apartment, and a small boy seems to be trapped inside.

School in this town is no happy place either, with an odd principal and a gang of girls who make tormenting Emma their special project. And strangest of all is the fact that there seem to be brownies – basement brownies, in the air vent in her bedroom.

Haunted by visions of her mother, Emma travels through the brownie burrow to the valley of Hades to visit with the goddess Ceres, following a series of clues that lead her across the sea of memory to the centre of the world.

There, on an inhospitable rock floating in a sea of steaming lava, Emma must find a way to release her mother from the sea of memory and restore magic to both the brownie burrow and the human world above.

Root Bound is the first novel in the “Emma and The Elementals” series. Emma and her Dad are always moving from town to town, but this time around, something strange is going on in their new apartment. Emma goes out to investigate, and to her big surprise, finds out that there are Brownies living under her apartment. The Brownies are a hilarious lot, and this comes from someone who doesn’t generally burst out laughing while reading. But the Brownies are simply hilarious. I want to feature them EVERYWHERE, like have Brownies comic books, Brownies T-shirts, Brownies songs…that’s how awesome they are. Like how Emma and the Brownies meet, I nearly started crying from laughter. I don’t want to spoil things, but it’s so funny that you won’t be able to keep a straight face – guaranteed.

Emma is a likable heroine. She doesn’t whine, she doesn’t complain, and she’s actually a big fan of adventure. She makes some silly choices though, but given her age, I’ll gladly forgive those. This book is MG/YA, but it’s really more a middle grade book. The setting, the storytelling, the characters, all scream MG. The author has a great writing style, and she managed to take Greek mythology and combine it with other classic elements to come up with a pleasant, original story I for one thoroughly enjoyed. The story is very imaginative, the characters are well-developed (including the Brownies) and there’s an obvious humorous undertone. The plot moves fast, and at times there’s a lot going on, so you have to keep your thoughts straight while reading.

One small comment though – which explains four instead of five star rating – is that the novel took a few chapters to really develop. I wasn’t that into the book when I first started reading, but after a few chapters, I was like – wow, great. However, I imagine some people would’ve given up by then, which would’ve been a shame. Slow start, but once you get past the introductions, this is a delightful story.

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