Series: Elemental #4
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, LGBT,
Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Publisher: Kensington Teen
Source: ARC from Netgalley
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Pre-Order on AMAZON | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY
Nowhere is safe. Not even home…
Nick Merrick is stretched to the breaking point.
Keep his grades sky-high or he’ll never escape his hometown.
Keep his brother’s business going or the Merricks will be out on the street.
Keep the secret of where he’s going in the evenings from his own twin—-or he’ll lose his family.
Keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who’s supposed to be his “girlfriend’s” partner.
Of course there’s also the homicidal freak Quinn has taken to hanging around, and the Elemental Guide counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers.
There’s a storm coming. From all sides. And then some.
Nick Merrick, can you keep it together?
Faye and I are huge fans of the series and with the upcoming release of Secret, we decided to do a read-along so we’d have someone to fangirl over the book with. Of course there was tons of ranting involved but we had loads of fun. You may proceed to read our discussion now while Faye and I proceed to take over the world. MUHHAHAHA.
Disclaimer: There are some spoilers so read at your own risk!
Faye: Hey, Rashika. Now that we’re finally discussing Secret, I’d like to ask you something. Among all the Elemental books released so far, which installment would you say is your favorite?
Rashika: Well I am a cheat and haven’t read the third book so.. I am not sure my opinion holds any value but had it not been for certain two characters it would have been this book. At the moment it remains the first one unless novellas count. If they do, ELEMENTAL. What about you???
Faye: It’s a shame you haven’t read SPIRIT yet as I rank it as the best among the four, but SECRET is a very close second. Suffice to say, despite the annoying girls (no offense Becca/Layne/Quinn lovers out there), this is one of my favorite YA series of all time.
Rashika: Seriously. I don’t like any of the girls in this series. Becca was actually pretty decent which is why the first book remains my favorite (and the romance wasn’t insta, woot for the small victories). Quinn was a nightmare of a character but before we even get on that why is she on the cover? WHY WHY WHY WHY?
Faye: Ugh, seriously. Although I really feel sorry for her in Secret (she did endure a tough home), I feel it’s kind of weird she’s on a cover when Becca and Layne didn’t even get featured. AND THIS NOT HOW I PICTURED NICK AT ALL.
Rashika: I didn’t feel sorry for her in the first book at all but there was still hope.In Secret I sympathized with her until she went and ruined it. Honestly out of all the female leads I’ve encountered in this series, she is the least sympathetic and honestly she doesn’t deserve to be on the cover *flips hair*. Also NICK WAS SUPPOSED TO BE HOT. I DON’T EVEN CARE IF THAT MAKES ME SOUND SHALLOW. Who is this guy on the cover of Secret? Where’d the guy from the cover of Breathless go?
Faye: Hahaha, certainly I admire your enthusiasm. But yeah, I wish it didn’t look rushly edited. But let’s get back to Quinn. I do agree she’s kind of complex, but there were times I wish she wasn’t so selfish and annoying and hypocritical. I remember getting so angry whenever she talked about Becca’s “betrayal”, Becca’s not telling her about the powers of the Merrick brothers, when she herself hasn’t been completely honest, either.
Rashika: (that’s Faye’s way of telling me not to go off topic.. the sneaky girl.) Yeah Quinn is complex but it seems like everything is about her in her world. Nick doesn’t want her getting hurt and when he warns her off, she lashes out and gets off on basically hurting him and doing things ‘he wouldn’t approve of’. When her best friend tells her she was almost raped and someone tried to kill her, her first reaction was why she wasn’t immediately told. What kind of friend is she? The world does not revolve around you honey. Please get over yourself. Other people have problems too.
Faye: Yeah, I would have appreciated her more if she were less self-absorbed, especially since she knew very well the stakes were high. But more than that… why… why TYLER?!?! TYLER OF ALL FUCKING PEOPLE! (I’ve been polite, but I need to rant about this) When I realized he was going to be her … you know… I couldn’t help but feel so angry. For three books we’ve seen how ruthless he could be, and then out of the blue we’re supposed to accept he’s a good guy who was just trying to uphold people’s expectations of him? Fuck that.
Rashika: Lol, you’re obviously have a higher tolerance than me because I didn’t appreciate her at all. I hated her. Even if I understood her and she was somewhat redeemed. I would NOT want her for a friend. In fact I’d be better off if she wasn’t my friend seeing that she cannot even respect someone’s wishes or keep their secrets. I basically died a little when Tyler turned out to be the love interest. Why? I don’t understand? There is no excuse for what he did. He can not be redeemed. You can NOT brush off what he did with some pathetic excuse of grief and how he was doing it to keep up appearances. NO. Where was his goddamn moral compass when his best friend almost raped her best friend? When he thought it was alright to rough up a girl? When he thought it was alright to beat up two innocent boys who were a lot younger than him? HUH HUH HUH?
Faye: You took the words right out of my mouth, Rashika. It was simply unacceptable to me. And even though I love the book for many other reasons, I felt a little insulted that it kept on trying to shove to my face that he deserves a second chance. Remember how Nick kept saying that perhaps Tyler’s… uhh, not to spoil, but he did something later on… and how that act may have just redeemed every shit he did before? Ugh… simply unforgivable. I don’t want to sound cruel, but it’s personally hard for me to take that.
Rashika: BAHAHAHA. My reaction to that was to tell him to GET OUT OF MY HOUSE (or my mind in this case.. or the book. Please don’t make me rationalize my reactions). Personally the main reason this book got a 4 from me was because of Nick. He is the star of the novel. Quinn’s story arc did not work for me, I skimmed from time to time but had to stop eventually lest I missed something important. Nick is someone I can relate to. Someone I kept on wanting to hug and reassure that everything would turn out just fine. Someone I thought, aside from Michael, was the least understood. I even made taglines for all the brothers. Michael, the misunderstood. Nick, the one no one understands. Gabriel, the guilty one. Chris, the one no one pays attention to (lol.. he is the baby. I loved him but seriously).
Faye: LOL, very cute taglines, but I agree. Nick’s internal conflict was really the highlight here, and I think Kemmerer has shown well the problems many LGBT go through. It’s the opening up to the family that’s the hardest step to take, and I am in awe of how well she portrayed it through Nick. We even got a deeper sense of his relationship with Gabriel! Ultra sweet :)
Rashika: Her portrayal of what many homosexuals have to go through is realistic although I’ll admit, I found Adam’s character to be slightly cliche. It WAS contrasted with Nick’s character but still. Gabriel may be my least favorite brother but his relationship with Nick.. I was going to say swoon worthy but that doesn’t work here. It’s so wonderful and sweet and I am always in awe of it. I was a little annoyed by Gabriel in this book though. Nick needed him and he.. didn’t see it. I understood later on why Gabriel was such a douchebag but.. I TOTALLY WANTED MORE GROVELING :P
Faye: Well, I haven’t read many books with LGBT characters, so Adam was new to me, but I did find him slightly boring. Nevertheless, their interactions were definitely cute, and it made me so giddy which is amazing because I haven’t felt such “giddiness” since high school. Haha! I wish there more scenes of them developing their relationship as they were very cute. That scene with Nick trying to figure out what Adam’s text of a smiley emoticon meant made me go over the moon. It was adorable.
Rashika: I haven’t read that many either (and I recommend Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe) but their relationship was adorable. I wasn’t just giddy. I was giggling. I was clapping my hands like a child watching some magic show. I was twirling around in my chair. I do wish there were more Adam and Nick moments (and less Tyler and Quinn moments).
Faye: Less Tyler and Quinn moments, yeah… while I’m happy she finally found someone, I wish it wasn’t with such an abusive guy… remember how he burned her and shove her to the ground? Why would you want to be with someone like that? And also, I wish Quinn stood her ground more… we know she has a feisty side, but she had to wait for a guy like Tyler to fix her home problems, when I knew for certain she was capable of standing up for herself.
Rashika: HOLY CRAP. That was one of my biggest issues. She keeps on romanticizing Tyler and forgets that the asshat (pardon my french) actually burned her and called her white trash. Maybe because of the environment she has grown up in, she is attracted to men who love abusing her. Now I don’t mean to insult her but Tyler’s being turned into a love interest and Quinn actually falling for his bullshit pissed me off beyond reason.
Faye: Thinking about him again gives me a migraine, so let’s move on to greener, better pastures. I think what makes this book really stand out is how it’s really mainly about Nick’s character and his relationships. The previous books were kind of fast-paced with intense scenes full of superpowers, but this one didn’t have much. We only got one really long scene of it with the Guides, but man, it was only one but I thought it was the most intense fight yet. That’s probably just me but we really got to see the extent of Nick’s powers.
Rashika: (you talking about green pastures reminds me of the time my econ teacher talked about buying cows. sorry going off topic). Personally, I loved the relationship Nick had with his brothers and Hunter. The one between him and Michael (*swoons*.. because Michael)… really got to me. It was beautiful and heartwarming. And the way he came out? Oh dear. All those scenes, little by little. I loved every bit of it. This book focuses less on the external conflict and more on the internal conflict of our characters (and Quinn.. she aien’t a character, she is a pain in the ass). Really though, even without the awesome action of the previous books (two in my case), I couldn’t help but fall in love
Faye: Now there’s only Sacrifice left, which is Michael’s right? I’m so excited. I bet there will be a great showdown against the Guides soon. I just know it.
Rashika: Yes it’s Michael’s and he is MINE. MINE I TELL YOU AND YOU STAY AWAY FROM HIM. But yeah I think it’s the last book and things are tensing up. (Remember the ending?) I can see a big showdown in the future. We’re going back to where things started and I AM EXCITE.
Faye: Sigh, I can’t wait. I wish we also get to see more of the Guides soon. We only got one measly chapter of the antagonist in SECRET and that was not enough. Haha. Well, let’s wrap this up. Basically, I love this book – no, scratch that – I love this series and Brigid Kemmerer remains as one of the best authors I’ve seen to write such interesting male heroes. Just… less Tyler and Quinn please. For realsies.
Rashika: This is what happens when an antagonist it turned into a love interest. *sigh*. I loved this book for Nick alone. Tyler and Quinn, I’d say did nothing for me, but they did, they made my blood boil. Kemmerer may not write the best female leads (or romances for that matter.. too insta in some cases) but her ability to spin these wonderful tales with wonderful males is amazing. I’ll admit to loving this series for the brothers (and for some of the awesome action). I am really excited to see what Michael’s story will bring us. He’s grown up from the last time we were in his mind so it’ll be really interesting to see how he’s matured.
Faye: I pray it won’t end in tragedy. I’d go down on my knees and ugly cry. But one thing is for sure, when SACRIFICE is out, you guys will see Rashika and I again. Hopefully… not ranting. ;)
Rashika: (with tons of fangirling over Michael).
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