Root Bound Tour Schedule
Title: Root Bound (Emma & the Elementals #1)
Author: Tanya Karen Gough
Publisher: Baba Yaga Press
Acquired Via: CBB Book Promotions
Release Date: June 3, 2012
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 fun-filled, middle grade fantasy novel by Tanya Karen Gough that reminded me of other children's novels, The Littles by John Peterson and The Borrowers by Mary Norton. Root Bound is different in that the magical creatures - brownies - only came to "Over" (the human realm) because "Under" (where the brownies live) was in trouble. The main character in the novel is Emma, who just moved to a new house because of her father's latest music gig.
I think Emma is a character that a lot of young readers will be able to relate to. She is constantly on the move with her father, so that means moving all the time and a constant flow of new schools. Emma has a rough go of things at her newest school because of the so-called Gorgeous Gang and their bullying of her. Though she doesn't stand up for herself at first, she learns to do that because of her brownie friends, especially Mat with him constantly calling her a monster.
Gough was able to weave Greek mythology with fairy legends in Root Bound in a way that I haven't seen before. I just wish there had been more world-building concerning the brownies because they're a species that is left out fairly often in literature, middle grade or otherwise.
If you're looking for a fun story for your young reader, I highly recommend Root Bound as it is a clean, fast-paced story that will keep them glued to the pages. Adult fans of middle grade novels will certainly appreciate Root Bound as well.
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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.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher or author through CBB Book Promotions in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.