on Aug. 24, 2013 :
Warning: This story will consume your life. ..And that's a good thing! For three days straight, I read "The Four Elements: The Fallen Knights".
It'd been years since I read a book, and this one was the perfect story to get me out of my dry spell.
This book will make you look at trees with suspicion and wonder. If you ever visit Chicago, and see Buckingham Fountain, it will make you stare at it hoping "something" will happen. The next time you wash dishes, you may take a closer look at the bubbles in the sink. I know this doesn't make any sense now, but it will soon I promise.
One of my favorites things about this story is the character development. After all, action, mystery, and adventure can only bring a story so far. Characters are what drive the story. And Stephen Gawn does not disappoint with the character development (or the action, etc).
For the price of the book, it's a steal. I could even see this sold at Barnes and Noble (and other places) for $20 or more. I'd still buy it if I knew it were this good.
Start reading "The Four Elements: The Fallen Knights" today if you are looking for an awesome story.
(reviewed 3 days after purchase)
on Feb. 19, 2012 :
The Four Elements: The Fallen Knights consists of 166 pages on the ebook version.
As soon as I got this book to read on my iPod, I did not know what to expect at all, I just thought it would be another boring book as you do when you’re a teenager and have read boring books at school but with this book I was not disappointed!
It is full of detail and you can just imagine it all in your head. This kind of book is different
from all the other books that I usually read but it was brilliant.
I loved the way it keeps you guessing all the way though and is such a mystery.
Michael’s family are all elementals (controllers or manipulators) they have the ability to control the four elements.
Terra, Pyro, Aero and Aqua ( Earth,Fire,Wind And Water) have to undergo training to learn how to control their abilities.
Michael’s power is aqua (controlling water)
I would definitely recommend this to a friend and I cannot wait until the next book!
(reviewed 45 days after purchase)
on Jan. 23, 2012 :
The Four Elements: The Fallen Knights by Stephen Gawn
Published in June of 2011 by Stephen Gawn on Smashwords and can be purchased at their website as well as Amazon. Formats available: imob, epub, PDF, RTF, LRF, and Online reading; eBook; 166 pages
Review by Kara Grant (pdf format)
“King Arthur was a legendary hero whose loyalty for man showed the world true honor and peace... But one secret he kept to himself is now leading sixteen year old Michael McCloud into a maze of secrets, controversy and murder” (from Amazon.com).
I had no idea what to expect as I reviewed this book, but I was not disappointed. Michael McCloud comes from a family of elementals, also known as controllers or manipulators of the four elements of nature: Terra, Pyro, Aero, and Aqua; or Earth, Fire, Wind and Water. The story begins with Michael getting bullied at school and he tries to use his powers only to end up with a disaster that gets him into trouble. His parents are also elementals, his uncle and grandmother are elementals, and he has two sisters (Sara and Amanda) who are….you guessed it, elementals! They refer to humans as normals or norms.
Michael is 16 years old and frustrated because he has not received the sign allowing him to use his and master his powers yet. He is constantly getting into trouble because he has a problem following rules and authority; he likes to figure things out on his own even when there are risks involved. He doesn’t realize until the end of the story that he only sees the circumstances from his perspective and due to his thoughtlessness that he has caused unnecessary risks to his friends and his family despite his good intentions.
Soon after the bully incident, Michael receives a mysterious message inviting him to learn about his powers. Unfortunately, the only way for him to comply is to sneak out of the house. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the beginning of the story, but by the end Michael’s lies and risky behavior make him known as a consistent troublemaker. Even though he is the main character, the story illustrates that Michael is brave, disrespectful, short-tempered and constantly getting into overwhelming situations that nearly kill him. When he finds out what his power is he is immediately welcomed into Embury, an elite apprenticeship for Elementals.
The first part of the story describes how Michael deals with his family and trying to learn what he will accomplish at Embury. The second part of the story is where the adventure really begins as Michael and his fellow elemental peers start their training and education at Embury, a magical and mysterious land with traitors in its midst. The fallen knights of the story refer to King Arthur and his knights who fought for honor and justice in the land of Camelot. There is a riddle in the plot that Michael works towards solving: “The table lies were ones will fall, find its fruit to discover its loot.” This riddle leads to treasure and secrets of Arthur’s kingdom. Embury teaches Michael and the other elementals that this riddle and any story relating to King Arthur are simply rumors and have never been proven. However, Michael fights to learn the truth and that his own heritage aligns with King Arthur. There is no mention of these knights until the end of the story hinting at a sequel.
Things I learned about elementals:
they never get burned by campfire
ice doesn’t melt in their hands
there are laws in Embury punishable by the Four Branches Court
elementals use different colored leaves to communicate
they use leaves for currency
they travel through trees
they use bracelets while training with their powers
there are 412 rules at Embury that must be followed by each student
there is no fighting at Embury
This story reminded me of Percy Jackson because of the powers used in the story. There is lots of violence, but nothing graphic. The one thing I had a problem with in this story was the profanity. Michael curses every time he gets angry or scared (which is often). He’s not the only one, the adults in this story also curse. Mostly hell, sh**, bullsh**, a**hole, b*tch, bast**d and d*mmit. There are also misspelled words that kept popping up. What I truly enjoyed about the story was Michael’s friends and his family. His family reminded me of Pixar’s Incredibles because they each have powers and they have to stick together more than once to survive when things go wrong. Michael’s parents are rarely in the story because their jobs keep them occupied, but Sara works in Embury and is constantly beside Michael or there for him when he needs to confess about something. Michael’s friends are loyal, consistent, and despite the constant danger he brings to them they are always running to help him. This was my first time reading Stephen Gawn and despite my reservations with the profanity and the misspellings I believe that this author has a definite gift in storytelling that will improve with each story.
Here is an excerpt from Chapter 5:
Michael knew his experience at Embury wouldn’t be anything he expected but he didn’t think everything would be so…overwhelming. As he moved through the vast grounds he felt like he was in a circus. Each element was represented to its fullest by the town of Malcote and its people. Shops were inside trees, caves, ice sculptures, igloos, tents, volcanoes and more that Michael desperately wanted to explore. Signs pointed to clothing, joke and sports shop, element-themed restaurants, a massive library, stadiums, a museum and a tall clock tower standing at the center of the town. Looking beyond, a giant mountain rose behind the town. Hundreds of people walked around trying to get from A to B.
“This isn’t a town; it’s a city!” Michael said, his eyes scanning and his mind making mental notes of places he wanted to visit. Just about everywhere he turned he saw things he wanted to explore in depth.
“Hey did you see him?” asked Gavin who turned to Michael.
“The man in the red coat hovered by selling round spiked objects.”
“Wow that is cool!”
Malcote was a vast city with its own life. Parts of the town were powdered with snow while harsh winds blew in other sections. Michael thought that just taking a peak into some of the shops could turn into an adventure. This mini metro had hundreds of shops to accommodate people of various cultures. In a small water themed candy store, Michael spotted a man pulling taffy that made his mouth water.
“Now it’s clear that the town is divided up by the elements. Terra: earth to the north, Aqua: water to the east, Aero: wind to the south and Pyro: fire to the west,” Phillip told them as he led the group through crowds of people. Michael spotted flame symbols on fire-themed stores from the south where they had entered. There was a fire spiced tea restaurant inside a real volcano that had been scaled down to fit the town. He watched as a waiter placed a water kettle on a lava fire pit that instantly began to whistle.
“I’m confused,” said a girl with an American southern accent. “I thought we were going to school to learn how to control our powers. I mean where are the classrooms or the teachers.”
“Well you are learning from Elders as their apprentices. They will personally guide you in developing your abilities. You will be tested on your elemental skills by using different types of methods. Those methods are decided by your Elder.” Michael was a little disappointed to hear that he still had to take tests, which meant he had to do homework. He had hoped his powers didn’t require reading hundreds of pages every week but he knew that would be too easy.
I want to thank Melissa at http://thereforyoumelissa.blogspot.com/, Stephen Gawn and Smashwords for the free copy they provided for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)