See more of my reviews at Once Upon a Prologue
From the first Saundra Mitchell book I read (The Vespertine), on to the second (The Springsweet), and now the third and final book in her trilogy, The Elementals, one thing remains constant. I am in awe of Saundra’s ability to write words that read like magic. I fell in love with her writing, and with her characters in The Vespertine, and although I did have some issues with The Elementals, I enjoyed revisiting old favorites and meeting new beloved characters in the final chapter of the trilogy. The Elementals wasn’t quite the book I’d hoped it would be, but ultimately it finishes an emotionally satisfying trilogy.
Before I knew what it was about, it was enough to know there would be one more story about Amelia, Nathaniel, Emerson, and Zora. One more chance to soak in Saundra’s vivid, wild imagery, to wrap myself up in her stories. Saundra is the sort of writer whose books just make you feel blessed for the chance to read them, and that’s no less true with The Elementals.
Purely on feelings – from feeling like I was IN all the places the Witherspoons traveled, or where Zora and Emerson settled, to feeling such empathy for Kate, and such sympathy for Julian, to feeling so privileged to read about what felt like such private and beautiful moments between various characters – The Elementals is an amazing read.
Technically though, I wasn’t always AS blown away as I wanted to be. I feel as if The Elementals was too short by about 75 pages, which gave it a perpetually rushed feeling.
I’ve waited some time after finishing The Elementals to write this review because I keep going back to the ending. My first thought as I closed the book was, “well, the ending ruined it.” That’s not really true, because it’s Saundra’s ending, her vision for how to close this glimpse into her characters. So it’s more fair to say it wasn’t the ending I hoped for, and that colored my experience reading The Elementals.
Also, there aren't enough characters like Julian, or Kate in YA literature. Julian was just so GOOD, and hard-working and sweet, with yearnings. And Kate. *sigh* Saundra wrote a wonderful post about Kate's sexuality, which I thought was explored so beautifully in The Elementals. I loved that Kate had huge dreams and wasn't afraid to be herself.
Final thoughts: The Elementals is a sweeping conclusion to the Vespertine trilogy, though admittedly it’s not at all the ending *I* hoped for. It’s part adventure, part character-study, and part magical realism/historical that felt short and rushed, but I’ll always savor these characters and the beautiful writing.