I think this review is spot-on, and much of it applies even to 1.05.
I haven't played a whole lot, but I was disappointed with the magic as well. Looking back to Master of Magic, my favorite part of the game was casting world-changing spells or city-affecting spells (Armageddon caused volcanoes to randomly spawn every turn, while one spell opened a rift of chaos over a city, damaging it every turn.) I was hoping to see Elemental expand on these ideas, giving us more spells like this with visual effects to match. I was really looking forward to, say, opening rifts to the Plane of Fire over my opponent's cities and seeing them rain fireballs on the world map. As to the comment about fertile land, there could be a spell which creates a patch of fertile land, but at a significant upkeep cost.
Again with spells, summoning seems kind of odd. I haven't done it very much, so I could just be confused, but it seems like you can just have one copy of every monster in your spellbook, with no upkeep costs. There seems to be no drawback to just having one of every summon with you all the time. I liked how in MoM, you had to balance the power of summoned creatures with the time it took to summon them, and their upkeep cost.
I agree with the complaint about generic spells - many of the damage-dealing spells seem incredibly alike except for their element. Some more distinction there could be useful. Also, I think the more powerful spells should go back to requiring elemental shards. (Again, it could be that they already do, and I just didn't notice.) Returning to summoning, I think a powerful unit like a fire giant should require ownership of a fire shard to control - that would make them much more sought after. It's much more interesting to fight over a shard with a reason like "once I get this shard, I'll be able to control Fire Elementals and raise volcanoes" instead of "once I get this shard, I'll do 75% more damage with fire spells".
I do like city building and tactical battles, and I think the game shines in these areas. Upgrading soldiers from single units to Parties and Companies does give a great feeling of your civilization advancing in power and organization. I love seeing sprawling cities, and the various building tiles look great.
Overall, I think the game does need a lot of work, and I hope that future updates will address some of these issues. I know that Elemental is not supposed to be a Master of Magic clone, and I'm not suggesting that it take that path, but MoM made magic important and awe-inspiring in a way that Elemental has yet to accomplish. I think the development team needs to seriously look at the mechanics of magic in Elemental vs. MoM, and consider some changes in the fields of spell upkeep, summoning, global and city enchantments, etc. As the game is now, I don't think it's delivering on its full potential. I'll be curious to see the review scores as they come up, but I honestly think the game's going to get a lukewarm reception.