The Head of Medusa by Michelle Madow
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
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Thanks to Michelle Madow for giving me this ARC!
The Elementals series has been very up and down for me. The first novel did not really grab me, the second novel definitely wowed me, and 'The Head of Medusa' lies somewhere in between. There were elements of this book that I really, really loved - and there were elements that I really did not love. Luckily, Madow can always be relied upon to deliver a fast-paced novel with plenty of action, and that kept me intrigued enough to read until the end (and what an ending it was)!
I know that I can be picky with romance. I mean, I wrote a whole post on annoying romance tropes in YA novels. But, hey - all I am asking for is a little relationship development before characters confess their undying love for each other. In the first chapter of this novel, Nicole is already pining over how in love she is (yes, she used the word love after two seconds of dating). I feel that I have written this same criticism a hundred times for a hundred different authors, so I won't bore you all with another rant - suffice to say, instalove makes me go a little cuckoo.
Anyway, Nicole is by far the least engaging character in the Elementals line up. Kate and Danielle, in particular, really made this book for me. Kudos to Madow for writing some seriously strong female characters. Kate and Danielle are complex and entirely different to each other, but are nonetheless friendly and supportive of each other (even when they do not agree). Female friendships are often portrayed as being inherently competitive in nature, and Madow does not give credence to this damaging myth. All three of the Elementals girls back each other up, and I love it!
If Madow ever wrote an Elementals spin-off with Danielle as the MC, I would just throw money at her until she gave me a copy! I mean, Nicole and Blake totally screwed her over, and she still keeps her composure and outdoes them at every turn. Plus, she realises that the Elementals' powers were not bestowed upon them because they are intrinsically worthy, but because they were lucky. Nicole suffers from some serious Specialness at times, so Danielle's attitude is very refreshing.
'The Head of Medusa' was a little slow in the middle, which is very opposed to Madow's usual style. However, Madow absolutely makes up for it with a soul-destroying, heart-crushing ending! Honestly, I was completely shocked by how gutsy the ending was. Some pretty major problems occur for our beloved Elementals, and without giving anything away, I really hope that some of these problems do not resolve. I would love to see how Nicole handles angst, loss, and betrayal.
Overall, 'The Head of Medusa' is a nice addition to the Elementals series, with some engaging supporting characters and a shocking, amazing ending. I would recommend it to anyone who has already started with this series - it follows a similar structure to the previous novels, and thus will not disappoint!
Love as ever,