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…
Final Verdict: 3.5 stars
Disclaimer: Rant ahead.
After reading this book, Gabriel, the feisty, reckless twin of Nick, instantly became my most favorite character. Who knew that such a broken, struggling individual could make the book enjoyable by his own merits alone? The book isn’t fast-paced, or filled with twists and turns and action scenes, but rather, it’s a tale of a lost individual coming into terms with himself and with the people around him. It’s such a nice change from the previous book, Storm, that featured Chris and the dangers they faced from being hunted by a Guide. This time, it’s just sweet, old character development, and how yummy and meaningful it was!
In Storm, we saw Gabriel as someone overconfident, tough, and immature. Of course, seeing it from Chris’ and Becca’s perspectives, we really couldn’t know why he was acting that way, or what kind of demons he was fighting against. With him as the focus here in Spark, it all makes sense. We learn more about his internal conflicts, his insecurities, his weaknesses, and while I do feel sorry for him, it was still so much fun to read about it. I really enjoyed watching him grow and realize his worth. It became even more worthwhile with his sarcastic and cynical personality. Yeah, he can be a prick, an asshole, a jerk, but he’s relatable in every sense of the word. The move from a plot-driven story to a character-driven one in the second instalment in the Elemental series was a welcome change, and I think this was the novel’s strongest point.
Yes… there’ll always be a but…
The love interest in this one, Layne, pissed me off like a mofo. If you read my previous review of Storm, you’ll see that I hated Becca. She was such an unmemorable character filled with traits that I prefer to eliminate in the YA genre (*stab stab stab*), but honestly, she becomes a saint compared to Layne. OMG, this love interest made me mad SO much. She’s fickle, she’s hypocritical, judgemental, and overall A-N-N-O-Y-I-N-G. At first she seemed like the shy type who gets bullied around by the mean girls, and I felt really sorry for her. No one deserves to be looked down upon and degraded based on your appearance or whatever-reason alone. Then, She met Gabriel and oftentimes got offended by some things he said out of humor, and went about how being judged sucked. You’re right, kid. It does suck.
And here comes the annoying part…
She whines about being judged, but she judges others and even Gabriel in return. Like what the fuck? She called the mean girls prostitutes because of how they dressed. She thought Gabriel (!!!!) was a jock player who flirted with anyone that has a vagina. She even called our dear broken Gabriel… get this… a FUTURE FELON…. Wow. Just… wow. What a goody-two-shoes, holier-than-thou bitch. Seriously. It made me so mad reading her thoughts on how she mustn’t be alone with Gab as he might do stuff to her, because that must be how he really is, right?!?! Guilty before proven innocent, right?!?!?!
And then there was this scene where she and Gabriel wanted to know more of each other, so they tried to play a game of Truth or Dare. She became really nosy and started asking personal questions, and when Gabriel took his turn and asked her a personal question, she got all stiff, all whiny, all defensive, “I don’t wanna play this game anymore!” and then ran and cried.
Overall, to summarize this:
I rest my case.
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