Today I’m excited to be a part of the Blog Tour for Root Bound by Tanya Karen Gough, sponsored by Xpresso Book Tours! Click the banner to see all of the stops on this tour, and continue reading to see my thoughts on the book and enter for your chance to win a signed copy!
Root Bound (Emma and the Elementals #1)
by Tanya Karen Gough
Baba Yaga Press, 2012
How far will you go to find your way home?
Emma and her father are always on the move, travelling from place to place as her father’s work demands. Their new home, however, is different. There’s a frightening woman who lives down the hall: she bears an uncanny resemblance to a witch. A mysterious light comes from her apartment, and a small boy seems to be trapped inside.
School in this town is no happy place either, with an odd principal and a gang of girls who make tormenting Emma their special project. And strangest of all is the fact that there seem to be brownies – basement brownies, in the air vent in her bedroom.
Haunted by visions of her mother, Emma travels through the brownie burrow to the valley of Hades to visit with the goddess Ceres, following a series of clues that lead her across the sea of memory to the centre of the world.
There, on an inhospitable rock floating in a sea of steaming lava, Emma must find a way to release her mother from the sea of memory and restore magic to both the brownie burrow and the human world above.
I was drawn to Root Bound for two reasons. One, it’s a MG fantasy title, and as a librarian working with elementary students, I’m always on the lookout for MG titles they might enjoy, and two, the summary mentions mythology, and as anyone who follows my reviews can probably tell you, I love mythology. So, as far as I was concerned, this book already had two marks in its favor.
For the most part, I did enjoy this book. I very much liked Emma. Her father has a very transient job (he’s a musician), and it’s caused him and Emma to move a lot. I loved Emma’s outlook and the way she just made the best of everything. It has to be so incredibly hard to pick up and move all the time, leaving behind friends and family, and constantly having to figure out how to fit in with a new place or group of people. Her thought process surrounding her first few days at her new school were spot-on and perfect and I felt so terrible for her, especially when she caught the attention of some truly horrible girls.
I also very much loved the world in Root Bound. So much thought and detail went into its creation and development, from the Brownie Burrows, to the witch and how she came into being, to the gift that Emma has and the special skills she possesses. I loved how the author weaved in the mythological elements, from Hades (in this case, Hades refers to the Underworld and not the god) and Ceres, and the way she was still suffering after all this time with having to give up her daughter for those six months. I also love how Emma uses her knowledge from a book to best the badies at one point!
However, that world-building was also what, for me, caused a bit of a ratings drop. Fantasy books need to have a strong foundation in order for the reader to understand the world and what’s happening, but in the case of Root Bound, I couldn’t help but feel that there was perhaps too MUCH detail. All of the description made the story itself drag in places, and I found myself skimming over parts. Don’t get me wrong; the world and the characters populating Under and Emma’s journey through this new land were a lot of fun to read, full of adventure and action, but I really feel that the rooms and places they visited perhaps could have done with a little less information in order to help the story flow a bit better. Of course, your mileage may vary, so take my opinion with a grain of salt!
While I think that ultimately this book may be a bit confusing for younger readers, I still very much enjoyed Emma’s character and her cast of motley adventurers. I’m definitely curious about what’s next for Emma and her friends!
A copy of this book was provided by Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Enter for your chance to win a signed paperback copy of Root Bound! Please go HERE to enter via Rafflecopter. Good luck!
About the Author:
Tanya Karen Gough was born in Montreal, Quebec and raised in New England, where she developed a healthy appetite for ghosts and things that go bump in the night. An avid reader from a young age, she quickly worked her way through Alice in Wonderland, the Magical Monarch of Mo, Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books, all of the Tintin comic books, Nancy Drew, and most of the other books in the children’s library.
Finally, at the tender age of 10, she produced this poetic masterpiece:
“Whene’er you get a wandering leg
And feel that you must roam
Remember this and don’t forget
The best place is at home”
To date, she has moved more than 25 times. Along the way, she earned two degrees in English Literature, taught overseas, became the owner operator of the Poor Yorick Shakespeare Catalogue, and contributed to a number of Shakespeare-related publications. Root Bound is the first of four books in the Emma and the Elementals series.