Series: Elements #3
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Published by Match Books on May 6, 2014
Reviewed by: Megan
Some suggestive scenes.
Aidan Brook is hours away from a peaceful life. Once she accepts her future as a banished elemental, she can leave her family’s island and return to Lake Tahoe, where she’ll spend the rest of her days controlling her magic in a calm, stress-free environment. That plan hits a snag when a member of the elementals’ governing body is murdered—and Aidan’s best friend is accused of the crime.
Before the body cools, Aidan is racing against the clock to prove Sera’s innocence. To make matters worse, she must face the consequences of the bond she now shares with her favorite bear shifter—all while her sanity grows less predictable by the day.
Magic, murder, and mayhem: it may look like a typical Aidan Brook day, but she’s about to discover, when the tides start to turn, even a water elemental can’t control what happens next.
TURNING TIDES by Mia Marshall is framed as a locked room murder mystery where the ‘room’ is an isolated island full of water elementals, and the primary suspect in the deadly explosion is the only person present who can control fire. Even though most of the crowd think the answer is obvious, the question of whodunit is paced nicely throughout the novel, and the unmasking of the culprit at the end would do Hercule Poirot proud. By then, however, the book is about much more than a single death, and I wanted the punishment to better fit the crimes.
Though I didn’t read the first two books in the series, I had no trouble understanding the situation, the relationships, or elemental society. I did struggle with Aidan Brook’s age; she's supposed to be chronologically in her 60s, but is the equivalent of an adolescent in her own society of near-immortals. She reads as a teenager in much of the book, and lacks the wisdom I’d expect from someone who’s already lived so long (by human standards.) Her friends have the same sense of perma-youth; they’re funny, loyal, and probably the highlight of TURNING TIDES, especially ex-Air Force pilot-slash-otter-shifter Miriam and frequently naked cat-shifter Simon – though sexy bear-man Mac ain’t bad either.
Marshall does an excellent job clarifying things for new readers without making it seem like an exposition dump, and gives a good sense of what these elemental powers feel like, but since I didn’t read the first two books, I don’t have much of an emotional attachment to the characters, which I think makes me less sympathetic to the ending. A lot of the conflict in the novel comes from Aidan’s fears of going insane, after she finds out that she’s a dual magic –a split-personality with god-like powers just waiting to happen. And when it does happen, Marshall puts the reader in Aidan’s mind, successfully showing why the threat of a dual magic is scary. So scary, it seems like a cheat when her friends give her actions a pass. She seems to give herself a pass, too, expressing feelings of guilt, but not quite feeling them, and leaves the destruction in her wake. She solves the mystery, and while not unscathed, gets off the island with her friends, her boyfriend, and her life, which may be a happy ending she doesn’t deserve.
- Broken Elements
- Shifting Selves
- Turning Tides