I won the second book in the trilogy in a competition that Donna Galanti ran on her website at http://www.donnagalanti.com, so I bought the first and read them in order. That proved to be the right decision, even if it meant delaying the first review.
A Human Element (The Element Trilogy #1)
The blurb starts off, “Evil comes in many forms…” and that is very true of both books. I was quickly drawn into the tragic life of Laura Armstrong, whose “friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it.”
Donna paints her characters in vivid detail, and applies her same graphic description to the unfolding events. As a writer, she doesn’t hold back, and for some readers that might be too much. But for me the graphic details work, as Donna weaves images and emotions with her words.
As the savage killer emerged, haunting her dreams, and killing her friends, I became incensed with this cruel antagonist. But then I tempered my anger, much like Laura learnt to do, and there seemed to be echoes in my head of the creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.
A second protagonist is woven into the story, Ben Fieldstone, and his storyline leads him to the same place and back to the night when a meteorite struck, killing his parents. The plotlines that bring Ben and Laura together kept me reading, and rooting for them.
The questions that they both face, also challenged me, and although the face-to-face showdown with the killer was an emotional one, it was inevitable. So I had to keep reading more… which meant Book 2.
However, A Human Element is still and excellent stand-alone read. And I would recommend this novel, which blends suspense, science fiction and romance.
A Hidden Element (The Element Trilogy #2)
Once again, “Evil lurks within…”, although fifteen years on the stakes are raised as Laura and Ben Fieldstone face a secret alien community with the powers that they confronted in Book 1.
Their son, Charlie, has inherited his mother’s alien powers and from early on in the story, the reader wonders which path he will choose – his parents or the community that offers him so much more. His feeling of being different is akin to the alienation so many youngsters feel, and Donna Galanti portrays that well.
However, not all the community share the extreme views of the leader, and his son, Caleb Madroc, provides another viewpoint and a plotline that throws up many of the twists and resolutions.
The graphic descriptions of his father’s attempts to breed a secret alien community are in keeping with his tormented mind. The description also captures the desperation of a community struggling for survival. They might have unique powers, but that brings emotional turmoil and life-changing decisions that are cleverly described.
As the season changes to winter, I could envisage every drifting snowbank and feel the biting wind, elements that echoed the story as it spiralled towards the finale.
I was swept along with Laura and Ben as they risked everything to defeat this new nemesis that wanted to rule the world with their son. I kept wanting Caleb to not just be their only hope — I wanted him to survive as well, and save his own children.
By the end of the novel, I still wanted more, although there were passages that I felt were a trifle overwritten – but I never flicked through. Bring on the ‘unknown’ element.