Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Book Review: The Head of Medusa (Elementals #3)

Release Date: June 29, 2016
Author: Michelle Madow
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Length: 190 pages
Source: Review Copy from the Author

The epic story of witches, gods, and monsters that USA Today called a "must read" continues in the third book of the Elementals series!

When Nicole Cassidy moved to a new town, she discovered that she was a witch descended from gods. But that was nothing compared to learning that it was up to her and four others with mysterious elemental powers to help save the world from the Titans, who would soon return to Earth.

Now her relationship with Blake -- the fire Elemental -- is finally heating up. But she must remain focused, because Typhon, one of the deadliest creatures in history, has escaped from the weakening prison world. Only one object can destroy him -- the head of Medusa herself.

Follow the Elementals as they journey to the end of the Earth, facing choices that will put their lives and the entire world at risk. Will they all survive the mission? Find out in the riveting third book in the Elementals series, The Head of Medusa.



Protagonist: After the end of the previous installment in this series Nicole has never felt more free, she can date Blake without upsetting the dynamic of the Elementals group, they know about her ability to use black energy to kill, and now they all have a way to keep monsters from constantly coming back from Kerberos. Things couldn't get much better. That is, until she and her team find out that the deadliest Titan Typhon is rising and they don't have much time to gather the things necessary to defeat him before all is lost. Nicole does have development in this book, but it's more directly related to her romance, which I'll get to in a bit, and while I don't mind that she doesn't grow too much individually, at least not noticeably, she's still a character that has a good variety of strengths and weaknesses that are tested in this book, she still has some growing to do, but with any luck she's got plenty of time to do it.

Romance: There really isn't too much of a focus on the romance in this book. It's there sure, the first chapter is even Nicole and Blake's first official date, but as a sub-plot it's very small. They're there for each other, and for the most part the romantic sub-plot revolves around Nicole's ever growing feelings for Blake and her pondering over whether or not to tell him she loves him. Now, that's not a spoiler because it's in the first chapter. I really enjoyed that the author chose to really have her main character debate over whether or not saying that would be too soon. Too often these days YA love interests say "I love you" within days, sometimes even hours, of knowing each other, and while it's only been a couple of months with these two, that's where the whole "we've been through a lot with each other" thing actually feels realistic and not just some contrived way to get these two characters to say the "L" word to each other at a break neck pace. Overall, I really enjoyed the romance and after two books I'm actually rooting for these two all the way and actually really love them together.

World-Building: Even though our heroes now have weapons that can send monster to limbo for a year until the Portal to Kerberos is closed, that doesn't mean it will work on all monsters, especially not a Titan like Typhon. For that job, the only possible defeat is the Head of Medusa. However slicing off Medusa's head isn't going to be super easy, This adventure takes our heroes to new places and has them fight for their lives nearly every step of the way. One of the things I've really come to enjoy about this series is how tightly all these installments fit together. I mean, most series have great continuity and will bring back characters, or dole out the consequences of a past book well, but for some reason, that really stuck out to me in this book. Everything works so well together and this author does a fantastic job of leaving noticeable threads that you just know will be picked up later.

Predictability: Here's something weird. I honestly don't know how to describe what I was and was not able to predict. Let me try to explain. I would be able to predict one or two aspects of what was to come, but the specifics would be wrong, or the timing would be off. There are some pretty big twists in here and the author does a good job of mixing foreshadowing with misdirection. Sometimes I would think I predicted something big, only to be wrong, and vice versa. Sometimes I thought I'd have the perfect idea of what's going to happen, only for the details to all get switched around and for it to turn out much more hopeless than I planned.

Ending: I thought I had more time. That's really all I can think to say, at least the only thing spoiler free I could think  to say after finishing this book. As things just hit a high point of tension, the highest for the entire book to be honest. I expected things to wind down, for there to be a cooldown period of some sort. Nope it ends, it ends with literally one of the most infuriating cliffhangers I've ever read. Michelle Madow, you are evil and I'm okay with that, and I am not okay with that. There is a final confrontation I guess, but that's a bit too far from the end, and not nearly final enough to be the final climax. The final climax was intense and crazy and if I wasn't in a hurry to read the first two chapters of the next book (which are at the end of this book) I could probably sit here and rant about it all day!


Finally a five star book for me in this series. It's not even that the other books were bad, they were great, even though the first book felt a bit too much like and introduction and not enough like a solid first installment, however I'm completely addicted to this series and am totally chomping at the bit for book four! Bring it on!!!


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