Welcome to my stop on the tour for Root Bound (Emma and the Elementals Volume 1) by Tanya Karen Gough. Root Bound is an upper Middle Grade fantasy adventure recommended for ages 10+. The tour is to run February 3-14 with reviews only. Be sure to check out all the details and the tour schedule on the tour page.
Book Title: Root Bound
Series: Emma & the Elementals (Volume 1 of 4)
Author: Tanya Karen Gough
Imprint: Baba Yaga Press
Genre: Children's literature, Fantasy/Adventure
Target Age: 10 and up
Length (trade PB): 251 pages
Release date: June 1, 2012
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About the Book
Root Bound is a fast-paced, action fantasy novel about a young girl finding her place in the world through a series of adventures involving magical creatures, and a journey to the centre of
the earth. Root Bound is both a topsy-turvy riff on traditional literary children's fantasy and an allegorical coming-of-age tale.
Emma and her father, a jazz musician, 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. They are searching for the Wanderer, a powerful being who can help free the Crown Prince of Under from the black magic prison that holds him. 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 free the prince, release her mother from the sea of memory, and restore magic to both the brownie burrow and the human world above.
Root Bound is a Middle Grade fantasy about a young girl who moves around a lot with her musical father. Their new move is to a city and strange things are happening. There is a creepy old lady, a mysterious door that is randomly cracked open, and an old house that may have sneezed. Emma finds herself whisked away into a world she believed to be imaginary and people that live in it that she only thought were real in her dreams.
Emma is an adorable character, she is self conscious about how new kids see her in new places, but also very determined and strong when she ends up in the new magical world helping and fulfilling the Brownie's prophecy.
I found the Brownies funny and entertaining to read about and the evil witch was very creepy. Leading up to the action in the book, I found my heart-rate rising as the evil was gaining ground on Emma and her new friends, and curious about the mysterious door. The author did a wonderful job of creating this magical world.
The first few chapters of the book were fairly slow, and it was difficult to get through them, but all of a sudden the plot takes off and you don't want to stop reading. I think that young readers will enjoy this adventure. It reminded me of the Spiderwick Chronicles with the mythical creatures and maybe even The Borrowers.
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The book has received some great reviews including one from Kirkus and from the Midwest Book Review.
“Gough cleverly mines that book’s legends, folk tales and Greek mythology, along with the works of Frank Baum and Lewis Carroll, to create settings and challenges that pay homage to classic children’s literature. [...] Gough also makes ample use of nonsensical rhythms and onomatopoeia to keep a lively pace, and her imagining of Under’s vast framework of roots and rocks is richly realized in earthly textures and sounds. [...] A lighthearted, whimsical confection that will delight both kids and their parents’ inner child.” -Kirkus Reviews
Witchcraft seems frightening at first, and only becomes more so as you learn more. "Root Bound" follows young Emma as she discovers someone who is most definitely a witch in her new home with her father. Drawn into a world of mysticism and fae brownies, she finds the road home for her is a long and complicated one. "Root Bound" is a fine and much recommended addition for young adult fantasy collections. -Midwest Book Review
About the Author
Tanya Karen Gough owned and published The Poor Yorick Shakespeare Catalogue from 1997-2007, earning a strong international customer base of world class academics and high school educators.
Tanya was also a contributing editor for the Internet Shakespeare Editions at the University of Victoria (BC), audio advisor for the Sourcebooks Shakespeare textbook series, and theatre reviewer for Playshakespeare.com. Tanya grew up in New Hampshire and currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Find the Author
This tour was organized by CBB Book Promotions