May 30, 2013
Review and Freebies: Spirit
Book Three of the Elemental series
Includes short story "Breathless"
By Brigid Kemmerer
Available now from K-Teen (Kensington)
I am happy to be a part of the blog tour for SPIRIT, hosted by The Midnight Garden. Be sure to check out the tour page for a chance to win the series. I thought STORM, the first book in the Elemental series was fantastic. It had danger, magic, and some serious swoon. The same is true of SPIRIT. Male protagonist aren't as rare in YA as some people like to think, but they are rare in books this intensely romantic. But it's not all romance, and Kemmerer has a talent for taking the story unexpected places.
No one trusts Hunter Garrity. He's one of the Fifth, and expected to hunt down other Elementals. He's still grieving for his father and processing the secrets revealed to him by his father's dying words. His family isn't much comfort and he hasn't made any friends. Then new girl Kate comes to town. She could be his chance to make a real, human connection. Or she could be a Guide sent to kill the Merrick brothers, like Hunter's father.
I liked that Kate had her own agenda. She's a terrific foil to Hunter. They have similar issues, and reacted to their upbringing in similar ways, but at the same time they don't have entirely the same goals. They do have chemistry in spades. SPIRIT was the first thing I read on my new toy (more about that later), and I kept showing people a shiny feature I discovered only to have them go, "She's not wearing any pants?!" Yes, you should always check that it isn't a steamy scene before thrusting your book into someone's hands. (There is an instance of tame, tasteful sex; these scenes are just awesome makeouts.)
The Elemental series does not shy away from moral ambiguity. Some of the worst atrocities in the series are committed by kids - thirteen or younger. How far should our protagonists go to stop them? How responsible are children for their actions? Hunter knows moral ambiguity. He thought he knew black and white, but lately all he's been seeing are shades of grey. He doesn't know who to trust himself.
I also like that the books stand decently on their own, each providing a full character arc for the protagonist, but that they're tightly tied together. In SPIRIT, Hunter is still reaping what he sowed in STORM. Becca cares about him, but keeps her distance because she got played. It's good turnabout that Hunter is at risk of getting played himself.
SPIRIT is heart wrenching, more so than the first two. The emotions and stakes of the series just keep rising. I cannot wait for the fourth book, tentatively titled SECRET. Nick is probably my favorite of the Merrick brothers - levelheaded but dangerous. "Breathless" is a good lead in to his story. I'm excited that the Elemental series is going to have a gay protagonist, but even more excited to see what happens next to the Merrick brothers and their allies.
I've got two goodies for ya'll. The first is a code to download "Elemental" for free. This short story gives the background of Michael Merrick, before he had to become a parent to his brothers and shoulder the guilt of several senseless deaths. Just follow this link and use the code VCARD. Be quick - the code expires May 31st! The second goodie is the first chapter of SPIRIT! Just follow this link to download it or read it online.
If you're a fan of the Elemental series, I highly recommend voting in the poll below. Kemmerer is going to write a short story featuring the guy who gets the most votes!