Spark – by Brigid Kemmerer
This series began with Storm, published earlier this year. I enjoyed Storm, and was excited to see the sequel follow so quickly. After snapping up the book from work, it was the last of my holiday reads. Here’s what I thought of book 2 of Brigid Kemmerer’s ‘Elementals’ series:
Layne has made flying under the radar an art form. Unwilling to deal with the gossip and bitchiness that comes with being one of the popular kids, she instead stays well away, dressing down, keeping quiet. Gabriel Merrick couldn’t be more different. His hot temper draws him more attention than is sensible, because the more attention Gabe gets, the more likely it is that he’ll give away his family’s secrets.
Like his brothers, Gabriel is an elemental. He has the ability to call and (sometimes, at least) control fire. But this power goes both ways: fire calls to Gabriel, and often – too often – goads him on. The only thing as legendary as Gabriel’s fiery temper is the reputation it’s earned him. Nick, Gabriel’s twin, controls the air. Chris, his younger brother, has the gift of control over water. And Michael, the eldest brother and the family guardian, has the ability to manipulate earth. Gabe and Nick have always been the kind of close that only twins can understand, but lately Gabriel’s reckless behaviour and confrontational attitude has been driving a wedge between the two, leaving Gabriel more adrift than he’s ever been – not that he’d admit that to anyone.
Everyone notices Gabriel, but it’s not until he and Layne start being thrown together by fate or circumstance that Gabe realises Layne might be the only person outside his family who’s ever looked past his brash public exterior. For her part, Layne might not be willing to accept that someone might want her over all the ‘perfect’ girls in their class – but Gabe might be stubborn enough to convince her.
This instalment didn’t do much to develop the overarching mythology of the series, instead focussing on the interaction between Gabriel and Nick as well as, in particular, Layne and Gabe, which was fraught with tension and misunderstandings. They’re both so unwilling to back down! It’s maddening because as the reader we get a glimpse into both Gabriel and Layne’s heads, and can see that they could really benefit from each other.
I’m very curious to see where this series goes. This felt like a standalone novel, like an episode in a TV series that only hints towards the eventual curve of the season. Kemmerer will need to do a fair bit of wrapping plot threads together in the third book, Spirit, but I have every confidence that she’ll do this with style. A worthy addition to my YA fantasy shelf. (Okay, okay. shelves.)
I think that a series I’ll re-read is comprised by characters I can’t forget, even if it’s been years since I’ve read the book. Too early to tell if Gabe and Layne’s story will stay with me long enough for me to need to revisit them, but I really need to know what happens in the meantime!
What is it about a series that keeps you coming back?