Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review: Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

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Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elemental, #2
Publication date: August 28th 2012
by K-Teen


Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally.

Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can’t. Like the fire that killed his parents.

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.

More than Gabriel’s pride is at stake — this could cost him his family, maybe his life. And no one seems to hear him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Layne understands family problems, and she understands secrets. She has a few of her own.

Gabriel can’t let her guess about his brothers, about his abilities, about the danger that’s right at his heels. But there are some risks he can’t help taking.

The fuse is lit…

*A copy was provided by Kensington for review purposes*

In Storm we met four brothers, one friend, and a girl stuck dealing with them. In Spark, we get into the mind of one of these brothers: the reckless and unpredictable Gabriel. Hot like the fire that he’s learning to control, we delve deeper into this rough-edged character who shows us the depth and insecurities inside his tough shell.

It took only a couple of sentences before I knew I was going to completely adore Gabriel. He was one character that we didn’t get to know a whole lot in Storm, but I immediately felt like I understood him through and through. His character is incredibly complex, filled with grief and self doubt. Besides blaming himself for his parent’s death, he’s very self conscious of his lack of control on his element. I found him to be an extremely well-rounded and likeable character. His flaws make him who he is; a broken, yet kind and loving guy. I was happy to welcome his brothers back into my life, as well. The family dynamic is, again, one of the best traits of this series. They banter and fight, they disagree but ultimately stay loyal to each other. Each and every one of these guys are so particular with memorable personalities that mesh perfectly together. Even though we only get to see Gabriel’s perspective out of all the brothers in this sequel, I still feel like I got to know each of them a bit more. Especially Michael who I’m hoping will get his very own POV in the future as he has quite the fascinating character arc – being the oldest sets him apart some. What we don’t get in this installment is more on Chris and Becca. They are present, of course, but this book enters a completely different chapter where they’re not front players.

A new character comes into play in Spark. Her name is Layne, and she’s a bit… quirky. She’s got secrets of her own to go with her inherent unconventional family. She gets her small share of perspective in this novel, letting us into her life and mind. I was attuned to her right away, curious about her hesitations while she’s trying to figure Gabriel out. Together, they build a relationship that is true and profound. They seem to fit with each other perfectly; they simply make sense. It’s not forced or hasty, it just is. Layne also introduces a whole new family dynamic where Brigid proves again her talent for building strong and true relationships, especially among siblings.

While getting to know Gabriel, we, in turn, get to concentrate on his element – Fire. Therefore, you will see a lot of heat, a lot of destruction, and a whole lot of intense moments. From heartwarming, to gut-wrenching, the emotions flowing from certain scenes in this book really emphasize the art that went into writing it. Not only is it extremely memorable, it shows us how invested we are in not just the main characters, not even just the side characters, but the story “extras” and all. This is how you bring a story to life.

Original, immensely character driven, and absolutely exciting, the Elemental series continues to wow me with the amount of life that shines through it. I strongly urge you to start this series STAT if you haven’t already!

5 Hot Espressos
The Elemental series so far (excludes novellas):

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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28 Responses to “Review: Spark by Brigid Kemmerer”

  1. Rebecca

    Yay for family dynamics! That was one of my favourite aspects of Storm so to see it being carried out again in Spark makes me even more excited to read this. I love Gabrielle, although I must admit I was a HUGE fangirl of Chris in Storm. My nickname is Becca, so it’s a match made in heaven ;D And I already knew this but…Chris and Becca appear? SQEEEEE.

    I’ve heard great things about Layne, I can’t wait to meet her. And I’ve heard it’s also gut-wrenching and we get to see this whole other side to Gabrielle and REALLY get to know. Let’s just say I am INTERESTED. BIG TIME.

    Hopefully I’ll get a copy of this super soon. Fabulous review! 😀

  2. Schez

    HI Giselle!
    I’ve just stumbled upon Xpresso Reads and I just wanted to say I’ve really enjoyed browsing through your blog. :0)
    (Now a newbie follower!)
    It’s crammed with interesting reviews -a busy blog with lots going on; but it still looks tidy and easy to navigate.

    Afer reading your Elemental reviews; I am going to have to add the series to my already massive TBR list!
    I’ve seen it about but have never stopped long enough to investigate.

    Feel free to stop by at my “work in progress”: (Any tips welcome!)

  3. Amy

    What a fantastic review!! I just bought Storm last week, but won’t have time to read it for a little while. I also bought the novellas. If you gave this 5 espressos it must be freaking awesome!! I love it when you feel totally invested in a story. Awesome review chicky!!

  4. -Ria xo

    I’ve read quite a few reviews for this, latel, which is making me wonder why I haven’t read this series yet… It seems amazing!

    I mean, Gabriel sounds like such a great book-boyfriend, not to mention his brothers. And anything that got five Espresso’s must be a worthy read. 😛

  5. Ellen

    I really loved Spark to, really all of the Elemental Series. I really hope Bridgid does a book from Michael’s POV also. Can’t help but love those Merrick brothers. Great review!

  6. KM

    I just read this book a couple days ago, and I agree – it was SO good! And the family dynamic was definitely the best part. I’d love to see more YA books have such strong familial themes.

  7. Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

    I. need. to. read. this. series. Oh my gosh, Giselle, this sounds absolutely amazing and oh-so-intense! I liked your views on the sibling and character relationships in this book, to have it all work so well together and fit perfectly without being forced….OMG, need to experience that myself >_< Fantastic review!!!

  8. Sam

    I’ll be back to read you review later as I’m currently reading this book! I’m so pleased to see 5-star rating from you though. This is fast becoming one of my favourite series too. I think I might even like Spark more than Storm! 😀 I’m glad to see you enjoyed it hun!

  9. Jac

    Ok; I HAVE to read these books. I love family books, especially well-written, well plotted ones! I just need to read this. NOW.

    Gabriel sounds about like my perfect man *swoon* So I think I’m going to hunt down this series asap.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  10. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    I’m reading this now and I’m already feeling this huge love for Gabriel because, like you, I can totally understand him. Chris was (is) adorable, but just a bit too young and childish for me to relate to, but Gabriel is a different story. I’m really enjoing this.
    Fantastic review, Giselle.

  11. Tabitha

    Gabriel sounds freaking amazing! I have a feeling I’m going to fall in love with character! And more Chris and Becca? AH! I’m so excited! I’m glad that you liked this book because it’s one of my most anticipated. (:

    Great review!

  12. Lalaine

    Omg Layne? hah! I think Gabriel is really meant for me.*grins* I cant wait to read this sequel! OMG Gabriel is so hot from the first book and im so eager to finally meet him again. Great review Giselle. x


  13. Danny

    Spark was fantastic. Even better than storm, and I lived storm already so much! What’s loved most Aout spark was the incredible dynamic between the brothers and all the other characters. And Layne was such a perfect match for Gabriel!
    Oh yes, I love this series!,

  14. Maji Bookshelf

    Great great review!! Don’t even want to compare it to mine.. 🙁 LOL
    You’re right about the family dynamics! No matter how much they fought, they were always loyal. Loved that! Layne WAS quirky! haha! But i really liked her! Lovely review Giselle!
    – Farah @ Maji Bookshelf

  15. vivalabooks

    Ahh!! I loved Storm!! Too bad Becca & Chris aren’t major players, but I’m super siked for Gabriel’s POV!! I, also, love their family dynamic! I can’t wait to read about Layne & Gabriel! She sounds like a really interesting character. YAY!! So glad the sequel got such an AMAZING review! 😀

  16. Lena

    I cannot wait for this book!!!! I just read storm a couple weeks ago and i loved it!!! I do love the brothers’ love towards each other. 😀

  17. Mia

    I’ve never heard of this series but it seems as if I need to try it out immediately. Always awesome to find new books to read, especially when they’re so highly lauded from great reviewers like you.

  18. Aylee

    It seems like just a few weeks ago I had never heard of this series and now everyone is talking and raving about it! I feel left out! I guess I better jump on this bandwagon soon. I’m really digging your description of Gabriel’s character. More and more, I’m finding that I appreciate characters that have a ton of depth and complexity, so he sounds like an awesome protagonist. Amazing review, Giselle! You’ve just made me all the more excited to start this series.

  19. Alexa

    I am SO EXCITED to continue reading this series! I can’t wait to find out more about the brothers, especially Gabriel, who already fascinated me the last time 🙂