Blurb (from Goodreads):
A lost colony is reborn in this heart-pounding fantasy adventure set in the near future . . .
Sixteen-year-old Thomas has always been an outsider. The first child born without the power of an Element—earth, water, wind or fire—he has little to offer his tiny, remote Outer Banks colony. Or so the Guardians would have him believe.
In the wake of an unforeseen storm, desperate pirates kidnap the Guardians, intent on claiming the island as their own. Caught between the plague-ridden mainland and the advancing pirates, Thomas and his friends fight for survival in the battered remains of a mysterious abandoned settlement. But the secrets they unearth will turn Thomas’ world upside-down, and bring to light not only a treacherous past but also a future more dangerous than he can possibly imagine.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Penguin Young Readers Group and Netgalley.)
16-year-old Thom is unique… in a bad way; the only person ever to have no ‘element’. Everyone else has a link to one of the elements – fire, earth, wind, or water. They can catch fish, predict storms, or start fires with their bare hands, but Thom can’t do anything, and everybody thinks that he is a ‘nothing’.
During a storm, Thom, his brothers, and some of the other kids from the island where he lives head over to a hurricane shelter in an abandoned town on another island. Problem is that in the morning when the ‘Guardians’ – the older inhabitants of the island (their parents and siblings), should be coming to the hurricane shelter to collect them, they don’t arrive, and when the kids look over to the island where they live, there are huge plumes of smoke – their home is burning.
When they row back to their home island to find out what has happened, the guardians are all missing, their homes are burned to the ground, and sailing just off the island is a pirate ship.
When the pirates realise that the kids are back on the island, they come back in search of them. They believe they one of them is ‘the solution’ (a cure to the plague that has forced them to live in isolation). Now the kids must not only stop themselves from being taken by the pirates, but must also try to rescue their families.
Who is ‘the solution’ though? What do they believe ‘the solution’ can really do? And is Thom really a nothing?
This was a great story. There was plenty of mystery surrounding each of the kids and their abilities, and what the pirates wanted them for. I must say that it isn’t quite as scary as a lot of dystopian books that I have read – no zombies here, but it was still a great read.
I liked the different abilities that each of the kids had, and how they were able to use them. I hated how poor Thom was made to feel like a ‘nothing’, and how the others treated him because they thought he had no element. He was totally made to feel like a second class citizen which was really unfair.
There was a hint at romance, but no real romance storyline. There were 2 girls who both seemed to like Thom, but it never went any further than that.
There wasn’t a lot of backstory to be had, but there was enough to set the scene, and give an idea of the sort of world where the story took place.
There were also plenty of little twists in the story that I really appreciated; especially the one at the end! I totally didn’t expect the revelation at the end, but it makes me wonder if there may be a sequel to this book in the works?
Overall; a great YA dystopian – not too scary, and no romance.
7.5 out of 10.