ARC Review | Elements of Power by Kate Stoessel
Spoiler Free Review
ARC kindly provided by BookSirens and author in exchange of an honest review.
Rating: ★★★ / 5 stars.
Author: Kate Stoessel.
Genre: YA Fantasy / Urban Fantasy.
Trigger Warnings: N/A.
Book #1 of Council of the Harvest Moon
“Everyone expects something from me or wants something from me, and I have nothing left to give.“
As the descendant of two prominent New England witching families, Khlorie Lethestone’s life was destined to fit into the neat, color-coded boxes established by the American Continental Coven (ACC).
When it is discovered that Khlorie has “extra elemental powers” beyond that of a typical witch, she is sent to Spindlewick College, a secret institution designed to help witches develop non-conforming gifts into tools for the greater good of witching society. Once there, she meets the attractive, but distant Perry Prentice, who is assigned to help her understand her gifts. But becoming one of the most powerful witches in the world means that you are watched closely, and Khlorie learns that there are secrets she must keep hidden to survive.
From the moment I read the synopsis for this book, I thought it was a very interesting concept and I wanted to love it. After having read it, although it was very well done, it could improve in many ways.
First of all, the magic system was too convenient. For me, it felt like if you were a supernatural creature, you could basically do everything and anything. There weren’t really any setbacks besides the fact that it takes a toll on the person physically. Still, it was also very interesting and fun to read about. The author did a good job at having a variety of powers that were intriguing, and made way for exciting scenes.
The politics, on the other hand, were probably one of the best parts of the book. They weren’t complicated at all, specially considering this is a YA book, but I liked how… normal it was. And this extends to the lifestyle of the characters as well. I really liked that Kate Stoessel decided to have them be just like us, and live lives very similar to our own, but with magic. In fact, everything was magical and supernatural in some kind of way, and even though it seemed a little ridiculous and unrealistic at times, who cares? It was entertaining to see everything she came up with.
“You assume my guilt because I disagree with you and no one questions your authority.“
It’s been a long time since I read a book set in a magic school, and I loved revisiting that trope. I think it’s so relatable watching characters struggle with school. In Elements of Power, it was an odd combination of College and High School, which did throw me off at times (because the characters seemed awfully young to be in College), but it sort of worked. Specially under the circumstances that they were all in.
And now that I mention the characters… I’m not sure how I feel about them. I think I’m a little out of the demographics for this book, because I felt that everyone was extremely YOUNG. More so than they actually were. This also means that I didn’t particularly love any of the characters. Yes, Khlorie is a good protagonist, Perry was very sweet, and (in my opinion) Orpheus was one of the most interesting of all. Yet, none of them moved me.
Overall, I think this is a great book for younger audiences (13 to 16 years old maybe), and it is definitely engaging. I could see many things that didn’t appeal to me, and as you saw, there is much room for improvement, but I could not put this down. I read it way faster than I expected and I would 100% read the second book (that cliffhanger was not nice at all). So, if you think this might be a book you could like, give it a shot.
Setting: ★★★ / 5 stars.
Plot: ★★.5 / 5 stars.
Characters: ★★.5 / 5 stars.
Writing: ★★.5 / 5 stars.
Pacing: ★★.5 / 5 stars.
My main rating is not an average from my breakdown, but an estimate of my personal enjoyment.