Only FOUR more days until Secret, book #4 of the elemental series is out! As I mentioned in my review for Storm, I’m doing a reading and review marathon of the series in anticipation/excitement/celebration of the fourth novel in the series. Today I’m reviewing book #2, Spark by Brigid Kemmerer 🙂
Gabriel has always been the “screw-up” of the family. He’s started fights, gotten in trouble, and dragged his brothers in some messes as well. He’s always had his twin at his back to help him out, but things start changing once Nick gets a girlfriend. Soon Gabriel begins to feel all alone and alienated. Then fires start springing up around town and all the signs point to Gabriel. He can control fire after-all. Even his brothers think he’s behind the “arson fires.” But there’s one person who thinks he’s innocent–Layne. Layne is a shy and seemingly plain sophomore who sits next to Gabriel in math. Gabriel doesn’t know why, but he’s drawn to her. Maybe it’s the way she sees past all the BS he puts out there. Maybe it’s because she understands having secrets and dealing with family. But should he let her in? Will she let him? And who’s really behind the fires around town?
Gabriel is one of the Merrick twins readers first met in Storm. He’s the “trouble-maker” of the family. Kemmerer does a nice job of capturing Gabriel’s personality. Personally, I found him very teenage angsty. Although I can see where a lot of Gabriel’s anger stems from. Fire is always described as the hardest element to control and Kemmerer does a good job of intertwining that frustration with Gabriel’s inability to accept change. All these feeling lead to Gabriel’s lashing out at his family, enemies, and Layne. Now after reflecting back on the novel, Gabriel and Layne’s story was definitely a Beauty & The Beast kind of tale.
Layne is one of my favorite kinds of heroine’s. She’s patient, quiet and innocent, but also stands up for good and cuts through people’s BS. She definitely grows in this story. Gabriel’s attention brings out more confidence in her, just as Layne’s directness and goodness brings out a calmer Gabriel. They both have their secrets, struggles, and failings, but Kemmerer does a great job of bringing them together. Their love wasn’t rushed and might not even be fully at the love stage since the words weren’t uttered in the story. However the reader could definitely see the evolution of their closeness throughout the novel.
Kemmerer didn’t fail when it came to the action. Although only slight less then the first novel, Spark was filled with action scenes driving the plot forward. The novel was fast-paced and entertaining. I was still glued to the pages trying to figure out who the arsonist was, if Layne and Gabriel would finally get together, and if Gabriel would ever patch things up with his family.
Another great thing about this novel, was the elemental scenes. Kemmerer did a fabulous job creating the scenes with Gabriel and his element–fire. The way the two interacted was well-written. The scenes were also vivid and drew me right in. Believablity was never a question when it came to this world Kemmerer created.
I did wish to see more scenes involving all the elements and brothers. Gabriel fought a lot with his family and spent a lot of time alone or with his new “friend” Hunter which made most of the scenes fire related. It would have been nice to see some more explosive scenes with all the brothers like readers saw in Storm. However, knowing Gabriel’s personality it’s understandable why there weren’t as many.
Another thing I didn’t really like in this novel was who the villain turned out to be. It came out of no where for me and I didn’t see a whole lot leading up to it. It kind of just happened and I was like–what? um, OK I guess… I wasn’t really sure how to react to it–it was that out of the blue. But in Kemmerer’s defense, she did leave the ending going into the third book with this new villain as the new worry/person to beat for the Merrick brothers. So hopefully this villain is explored more in book three.
Overall, I still really enjoyed this book. Sometimes the second book in a series can seem disappointing after a great book one. Even though Spark had some failings, I was still glued to the pages. I’m starting to see pieces of myself in each of the Merrick brothers. Gabriel is definitely someone I can relate to in certain aspects. I think everyone has felt alone or alienated at one point in their lives–especially when they were a teenager. I also really loved to watch him grow in his element throughout this novel. Each brother is growing stronger in a different way throughout this series and Kemmerer does a great job of telling each brother’s story in their own point of view. I can’t wait to continue with the series by reading Spirit which happens to be Hunter’s story and not a Merrick brother’s. I really want to see what’s inside Hunter’s mind.
If you haven’t started the Elemental series yet, I definitely recommend it! I still haven’t picked a favorite guy yet out of the five hot elementals, but I’m sure I’ll have a favorite by the end of the series–or at least a strong contender 😉
My Final Grade
My Grade: A
Amazon’s Rating: 4.5/5 stars (108 reviews)
The Blurb via GoodReads
Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally. Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he’s not doing it. And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Because Layne has a few secrets of her own…
What are your thoughts on Gabriel and Layne’s story? Did you like Gabriel’s story more than Chris’? What are your thoughts on Hunter: good guy or bad? Are you reading on? Let me know your thought’s in the comment’s below! I’d really love to know what you thought!