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"The Elementalist" is very much an adventure story with earth, wind, fire and water elementals being summoned by trained elementalists. We also have pirates (or privateers as they prefer to be called themselves). I have never really understood the distinction, for what they do tends to be the same. But these pirates are good pirates, at least what we see of them. In addition, we get fighting of the sword and magic kind and a little love and betrayal. All of it is told with a twinkle in the eye and maybe a few winks here and there.

Poor Barin Elicerio! He's not certain exactly what it is he is supposed to have done, except that he has been accused of consorting with spirits of a malignant nature. Barin is pretty confident he has not done so, but the evidence points straight at him. Barely avoiding the death sentence (who wants to sentence to death the star elementalist), Barin is instead exiled to his birth town forbidden the practice of elementalism. And that is a pretty harsh sentence to serve for a person who practically eats, drinks and breathes elementalism.

Strange things begin happening in Barin's life. First comes the strangest storm the sea-side village has ever seen.

" Barin knew the sea. He had grown up in this village; his father had been a fisherman. He knew about the winds, the tides, and the dangers of the sea. He knew that if the wind blew from the north, as id did now, then the sea in the small protected harbour should be calm.... Far below, powerful white-crested waves tossed the moored boats about like toys...."

" The wind whipped at them from all directions. The rain and sea spray glowed eerily in the milky light from the small lighthouse. Out of the darkness came snatches of the fearful cries of fishermen, carried on the gusts of wind that threatened to throw everyone into the raging sea."

To the rescue men, to the rescue. Some of the fishermen are saved from the wrath of the waves but not all. What Barin does during the storm changes the attitude of the villagers toward him. Or perhaps their eyes are opened to their own folly. Strangewort, the town Elder, finally accepts Barin, thus opening up the way for the rest of the village to begin treating Barin like something other than a pimple under the skin.

Then another boat fights its way to land having saved several fishermen from certain death. Privateers led by Captain Glib turn Barin's life up-side-down. All of a sudden Barin finds himself breaking the edict of the Tetras and on the run trying to figure out what on earth is going on.

Courage is a strange thing and we find it at the strangest times and in the oddest places. Barin finds his courage when his journey to figure out why the elemental spirits are behaving the way they do begins. He continues having to drag it out, facing his fears and learnings. Perhaps the most courageous thing any of us does is face ourselves and admit that what we have been taught is only partially true. Barin gets a lot of practice doing that in "The Elementalist".

A fun adventure taking us into the land of possibilities. I would say the starting age for "The Elementalist" would be from 8 to 10 years old.
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on 3 April 2013
I was hesitant to mention JK Rowling and Harry Potter, lest it be seen as a cliche, but there are clear parallels - there is definitely the same quality, detail and passionate honesty in his writing, resulting in The Elementalist being a book that you don't just read, but immerse yourself in.

Rather than be yet another "geeky" sci-fi fantasty book about wizards and goblins, The Elementalist proves to be very accessible to almost anyone, featuring elements (excuse the pun) from many different genres of storytelling, all expertly woven into one rivettingly good yarn. And with more twists and turns than a twisty turny thing, it's a book that will keep you guessing, and ensure that you keep turning the pages until the bitter end.

An outstanding first book from a brilliant local writer, and I look forward to see what else Andy can dream up.
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on 23 March 2013
Brilliant fantasy story, interesting characters and plenty of plot twists. I found this hard to put down, and would love to read more stories of the world and characters created by the author, lots of room I think to expand with such a unique take on the genre. The only negative is that the book would have benefited from a proof read, or editing, as there are quite a few typing errors, but with a story this engaging, it's hard to complain, this is highly recommended.
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on 11 March 2013
I am not usually attracted to Sci-Fi. It is the first time I read a Fantasy book and I must say I got hooked from the first line. There's a lot of suspense and the author makes you travel in Barin's adventure in a very dynamic style. You are never bored and want to know more and more about the Machiavellian plot and where those characters are going to take you. Dynamic dialogue, great plot, elegant writing that will get your imagination going.
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