Water (Akasha #1)
Release Date: September 2011
Received through Read It & Review It
Elemental powers in the palm of her hand…and it won’t be enough to save her. When Kaitlyn Alder is involuntarily introduced to a life of magic, she becomes part of an organization hell-bent on saving the Earth. Just as her new-found life holds promises of purpose, romance, and friendship, the organization divides and a rogue member holds Kaitlyn hostage. Now one of the most terrifying men the human race has to offer stands between her and Earth’s survival.
The second book in this series, Air, was posted as a Read it Review It book on the New Adult Book Club group. I agreed to review it because the synopsis seemed interesting. The post did warn that there were “dark moments” and some non-consensual sexual situations in the first book. The first book was available for free on Amazon and Smashwords.
The book begins as Kaitlyn, our main character, is trapped by an avalanche while skiing in a remote part of the world. Things like this are always happening to Kaitlyn – hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados – seems everywhere she goes, some natural disaster takes place while she is there. When Kaitlyn awakes she finds herself locked in a scarcely clad white room with no knowledge of where she is, or how she got there, or who is waiting outside the door.
After a failed escape attempt, Kaitlyn is taken to a laboratory where she is subjected to countless pokes, prods, beatings, and psychological testing. She is secluded, even though surrounded by several lab workers, no one is allowed to talk to her. Until the seeming leader of her captors comes forward, revealing himself – Micah. He was handsome, alarmingly so. He is also a part of the Seven, a group who use their supernatural powers to help and protect the earth.
“In my right hand I have a gift, choose this hand if you want to stay. In my left hand is a key to that lockbox over there…It contains directions out of here, money, and your passport. If you choose this hand, you are free to go.”
Ok, so I know what you are thinking, if she was being abused by her captors, why would she decide to stay? I wondered the same thing myself. There is not any real explanation for her decision to stay with this group of men who call themselves the Seven. Somewhere along the way she developed a relationship with Micah, the man whose role is seemingly to “protect” her. However, as part of her training to become one of the Seven, he decides a good distraction technique would be to try and rape her while she is supposed to be concentrating on trying to use her new found powers.
“Micah turned to leave me alone with the massive pile of books. I suddenly panicked. “Where are you going?” He paused, looking over his shoulder. “I have something I have to do tonight.” “You’re not going to leave me alone are you?”
I was very confused by the relationship between Micah and Kaitlyn. It skipped back and forth from one of fear and hatred, to one of love and devotion without a smooth transition or any rationalization. The whole thing took on a Stockholm feeling for me and left me wondering, why does she keep going back to him? It was almost as if there are two books crammed into one here. One book is a delightful eco-centric fantasy that would be highly recommendable to the young adult reader. The other book takes on a dark, sadistic quality of writing and throws in some highly graphic sexual situations that would be suitable only for the adult reader.
“Up until now, most conflict in this world has occurred due to land or border disputes and more recently – oil rights. Can you imagine what kind of conflicts might occur over freshwater resources? How bloody will those battles be? And who will be blamed for the problem?”
So we haven’t talked much about the Seven yet or what they do. This was one of the parts of the book that I really enjoyed. In a fresh new take on the traditional superhero, the author gave certain individuals the powers to communicate and control various natural elements – Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. Then there is the Gaia (this is what Kaitlyn is), who has the ability to control all four of the elements. Rounding out the group would be the Ardwyad (Micah) who is supposed to protect the Gaia with every fiber of his being and the Medwin (Shawn) to regulate the Gaia’s powers and help her control them. Sound very much like the X-Men group of superheros? Yeah, does to me too. But that’s why I like it. And this group’s main purpose is to travel the world and try to get companies and humans to “go green”. They also regulate the natural forces of nature to help humans and nature live in harmony. Ok, so this was slightly harder for me to buy into, but hey, I was willing too.
I had a hard time with this book. I really liked the premise of the story and was easily entertained by the eco-fantasy genre. However, the romantic interlude left me confused and wanting more. The sexual situations seemed to come out of the blue and were unwarranted. The author could have left out the gritty details of the encounters and made this a title worthy of the young adult/new adult genre. I would have been happier with the rape encounters if they had been portrayed by having Kaitlyn retreat inside her thoughts to deal with the ordeal.
I would only recommend this book to those at the high end of the new adult readers, definitely over 18+. Those who don’t mind some darker adult situations and who would enjoy the eco-fantasy story line.
What do you think about this title? Do you think there is room in new adult for more explicit sexual situations? How much is too much?