October 1, 2014

Review: Sacrifice

Sacrifice Book five in the Elemental series
By Brigid Kemmerer
Available now from K-Teen (Kensington)
Review copy
Read my reviews of Spirit and Secret

SACRIFICE is the fifth and final book in the Elemental series.  The Merrick brothers - Michael, Gabriel, Nick, and Chris - have fought off several guides and proved to some former enemies that they aren't a danger.  They're building a pretty good life with their significant others and Hunter, the former Guide-in-training who moved in.  But an enemy is closing in, and their methods are deadly to bystanders.  Michael is determined to stop whoever it is, alone, without risking his brothers.

Michael is the oldest and has felt the burden of responsibility since their parents died.  SACRIFICE is the perfect title for his book.  It's a title with several meanings, in fact.  Given that the Merrick brothers are strongest together, his determination is a little silly.  At the same time, it makes perfect sense from a parent's point of view.  And it makes waves with his girlfriend (an actual parent), who doesn't appreciate being out of the loop when her boyfriend keeps showing up in mortal danger.

Hannah and Michael have been dating in the background of previous books, so I was curious how the vibe of an established relationship would affect the book.  But Hannah is almost a non-entity.  Her chapters are rarely about the actual plot, and she's even given a secondary love interest like a love triangle was needed.  Hannah and Michael rarely interact.  Given how vibrant the romances in the Elemental series have been, it was a bit of a letdown. 

The plot, however, is thrilling.  The reveal of the Guide who has been harrowing them is simply brilliant.  There's a real sense that the heroes are in danger, and the effects of the violence aren't disposable.  There is a lot of pain in SACRIFICE.  If this was just another book in the Elemental series, it wouldn't be my favorite, but I would be very happy with it.

Having said that, I found that SACRIFICE was not a satisfying series finale.  There are a number of threads left dangling, including what I felt was the most important thread of the series.  The conclusion of SACRIFICE has about as much impact as the conclusion of the other four books.  I feel like I should still be expecting the next chapter to come out next year.  I thought this was a very fun series, but people considering picking it up should expect a very open ending.

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