Welcome to my stop on the tour for Root Bound (Emma and the Elementals Volume 1) by Tanya Karen Gough. Root Bound is an upper Middle Grade fantasy adventure recommended for ages 10+. The tour is to run February 3-14 with reviews only. Be sure to check out all the details and the tour schedule on the tour page.
About the Book
Root Bound is a fast-paced, action fantasy novel about a young girl finding her place in the world through a series of adventures involving magical creatures, and a journey to the centre of the earth. Root Bound is both a topsy-turvy riff on traditional literary children’s fantasy and an allegorical coming-of-age tale.
Emma and her father, a jazz musician, 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. They are searching for the Wanderer, a powerful being who can help free the Crown Prince of Under from the black magic prison that holds him. 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 free the prince, release her mother from the sea of memory, and restore magic to both the brownie burrow and the human world above.
My ***3 STAR*** Review
Root Bound left me with differing opinions. It was a slow-paced read for me that I sometimes found intriguing but other times it dragged. I believe if I would have been reading this aloud to my children, then I would have found it a great deal more intriguing. However, it’s purely fantasy and doesn’t have much value beyond pure entertainment. In other words, I didn’t see it as the sort of book that would lead to great discussions between me and my kids, such as other fantasies like The Chronicles of Narnia did.
Beyond the main character, most of the other characters in the story are creatures that exist only in a world of fantasy. You don’t really get to know any of the characters on a deep level, and I didn’t feel any emotional attachment to them, or Emma.
I did enjoy the banter between the characters. I think I would have enjoyed the story a great deal more if there would have been more dialogue. I found the brownies banter quite entertaining. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t much of it. I also enjoyed the almost poetic style that the book seemed to have at times.
The story ends cliffhangerish. There’s an ending to a chunk of the plot, but the overall story is still left quite unfinished. I did find myself curious as to how things would go in the next book and if it would be more interesting with the new character that will come into play.
I really think this is the sort of story my 9 yr old would enjoy, but I’m not so sure about my 12 year old. Keeping in mind the intended audience, I rate this at 3 stars. For myself, I might have rated this only at 2 stars, but if I was rating this for my nine year old, then I might say as high as four. Either way, I am intrigued to know what comes next.
*I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.*
About the Author ~ Tanya Karen Gough
Tanya Karen Gough owned and published The Poor Yorick Shakespeare Catalogue from 1997-2007, earning a strong international customer base of world class academics and high school educators.
Tanya was also a contributing editor for the Internet Shakespeare Editions at the University of Victoria (BC), audio advisor for the Sourcebooks Shakespeare textbook series, and theatre reviewer for Playshakespeare.com. Tanya grew up in New Hampshire and currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.
This tour was organized by CBB