Christopher C Starr was born in New Jersey and currently resides in the Seattle area with his wife; two kids--The Boy and the Honey Badger; and his husky, Rocky the WonderDog. He has a sense of humor like a Gremlin, a trash TV fetish, and telling stories is absolutely what he was meant to do.
You can check him out at www.christophercstarr.net
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Smashwords book reviews by Christopher Starr
on Aug. 17, 2012
Let me get this out the way: Kaitlyn Alder is BADASS!
And now for the more subdued part of my review:
I read Water as part of the OrangeBerry Summer Splash Blog Tour and was introduced to Kaitlyn, her elemental powers and the eco-fantasy genre all in one fell swoop. And Terra Harmony, the author, doesn't waste any time throwing you into the action. Some readers like to move into stories gradually--they want to learn about the sunlight, the intricate shapes the shadows make dappling on pavement, the sounds of children playing from the nearby park wafting through the air. Yeah, screw all that! Harmony introduces us to Kaitlyn as she's snowboarding for her life, trying to outrun an avalanche.
And that's just the first chapter.
From here we learn that Kaitlyn is more than a globe-trotting, freelance photographer with intimacy issues: she's a Gaia--a person with the ability to manipulate the elements (Air, Wind, Water, and Fire). Problem is Kaitlyn's all power with none of the control. Where we'd love a light breeze, your girl is causing Hurricane Katrina. Not only that, she's in the custody of an eco-friendly (but pretty freaking poor), shadowy group called The Seven. They lock her up, don't tell her anything, vaguely answer her questions, are footloose and fancy free with sedatives, and promise to teach her about her powers.
What I like about Kaitlyn is that she takes none of this lying down: she puts a hurting on everyone until she gets the answers the wants or until her curiosity is peaked. And she's got a smart-ass sense of humor. She's all attitude, has great one-liners and a good right cross--it's more like Captain Planet meets The Last Airbender with a little Firestarter thrown in there for good measure.
I'm gonna stop so I don't ruin it: Water and its follow up, Air, are both available now and Book #3, Earth, is due out pretty soon. It's a good, action-packed read. But I do have to say, Kaitlyn's journey is no walk in the park: just because it has fantasy in the genre, don't think this is Hunger Games. Harmony deals with some very adult themes in a very adult way and some of the sex scenes in this book are non-consensual.
I have a couple of cons. First, I LOVE villains. Not a fan of this guy. At all. For all the crap he put Kaitlyn through, what he wanted was neither clear nor really all that deep. Ever. And the emotional component underpinning his actions and his goals was too little too late. I didn't get the why of it all and, without that, I couldn't get the point. Other than Kaitlyn learning her powers, the villain didn't give me much to go on. Luckily, Kaitlyn's story is strong enough to go on.
Beyond that, this is ultimately about saving the environment, right? Save the trees and feed the plankton and global warming stuff. It isn't even that governments and companies don't love their trees--it's that they don't want to pay to save them. So if you have a group of people who can fix the environment, through whatever means, who cares? Why be clandestine when you're doing the stuff everybody wants? I couldn't understand the bigger conflict; it was alluded to late in the book but never really clear.
That aside, would I recommend the book? Absolutely. Ms. Harmony is building a bigger story here and Water is only the beginning. It's certainly worth diving in and seeing it to the finish line.