Review 33: Turning Tides (Mia Marshall)

SPOILER WARNING: The synopsis and review will contain spoilers for the first two books in the Elements series. My reviews for the first and second books can be found here and here.

Title: Turning Tide34-Marshalls

Series: Elements #3

Author: Mia Marshall

Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis: 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. (Goodreads)

Rating: 

(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Reading this book was like going to a reunion with old friends, and realising that they have changed since you first met them, but being around them is still fun. You still laugh at their jokes and shenanigans, you love their dynamics, and you admire how far they’ve come. That’s how I felt when I got a chance to read Turning Tides, the third book in one of my favourite fantasy series.

The friendship between Aidan and Sera is one of my all-time favourite friendships in books. They’re both strong and kickass ladies, they have a fierce loyalty to each other, but are not afraid to call each other out if they go too far. There’s a lot of snark going back and forth, but it’s really fun to read because they’re very witty. This book takes it to the next level, showing just how much they can protect each other, and what they’ll go through.

Aside from the friendship, I love the relationship between Aidan and Mac. I love it when a relationship is developed over time, when it isn’t just “Hello, nice to meet you. I love you!” Aidan and Mac are far from it. They do love each other, but they aren’t constantly falling into each other’s arms or saying soppy things to each other while their world crumbles. No, they’re smart. They both have their strengths, and recognise the urgency or danger of a situation instead of being caught up in each other. Their relationship just feels so organic and wonderful, even without the constant proclaiming of love or extoling of virtues.

Of course, there’s Simon. My sweet Simon, the fun-loving cat shifter of the group, and my second favourite shifter. (Sorry, Mac comes first!) What I loved in this book was the chance to see Simon’s character as more than just comic relief, and you all know how much I love multi-dimensional characters. Miriam and Vivian help round out the cast, with smart mouths and technical knowhow (respectively).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love the characters. I love them so much and could go on and on about how much I love them. But I will TRY to move on to the rest of the book, promise!

The first and second books focused on our world, a world where elementals and shifters had to hide themselves. While it was interesting to see how they balanced magic with modernity, it was also really interesting to see what an elemental enclave was like. Aidan’s family, the customs and culture, how they still have older technology but have learned the ways of modern things too. Also, Aidan’s Grandma is officially on my list of Awesome Grandmas.

The plot moves quick, with twists that I didn’t see coming. Marshall can write a mystery really well, and has a great cast to carry it out. I really hated some characters, not because they were badly-written, but because they were just so mean! If a well-written villain can get a rise out of me, I begrudgingly give them kudos. Flat characters? No, you’ve come to the wrong place!

I think my only problem with the book is the pacing, but it’s a tiny problem that I can overlook. The climax and ending came fast, maybe too fast. I kept reading and reading until the end, and finally had to put it down to absorb the whole thing.

Overall: Five stars, for all the reasons listed above. Amazing cast of characters, great writing, a good mystery, and more world-building. I’d say more but this review is already long enough!

Will I continue the series? One of my favourite new fantasy series? Uh, YEAH! Like that’s even a question!

I really wanted to use the awesome print cover because I LOVE IT SO MUCH. But that would have put some spoilers for the first two books, so I ended up with the still awesome ebook cover that may be less spoilery. :)

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