Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mini Review: Secret (Elementals #4) - Brigid Kemmerer

Release Date: January 28, 2014
Source: Netgalley
Published by: Kensington Teen

Secret (Elementals #4) - Brigid Kemmerer - Goodreads | Purchase

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?

This may be my favorite of the series so far. Not only does it seem like emotional and physical stakes have been raised, but I now also want to read the last book a lot more than I had the others (I continued with the series, wrote a review, but wasn't hooked on them the way you might think someone reading 3 novellas and 3 novels in that series would be.).

**These teens are so realistic. I've mentioned that the series includes a lot of angst between the characters and in the romance, but I can't deny how realistic and emotionally palpable this aspect feels. Obviously a lot of the problems arise as a result of the characters holding things back from each other, but hey, that happens, and the angst and drama and strong feeling makes it easier to connect with the characters. Because even if you get annoyed with a character, Kemmerer has still managed to make you *feel* something for the character and react to the story, and that's definitely not true for all books.

**I'd said before that I wanted a bit more clarity when it came to the paranormal powers. The world building in terms of the town, its history with the elementals, and the characters history with those attitudes was further developed. We were also given specifics to tell the differences between a regular elemental and a Full-fledged one (as the Merricks are). While I'm still not entirely sure I understand the scope of Becca or Hunter's powers, I think that I have a better grip on the elemental powers at large and no doubt knowing more about previous events helped.

**The changing character dynamics: this is probably my favorite part of all these books. Though each novel centers on one of the Merrick brothers (and Hunter), Kemmerer takes the time to flesh out how plot point 1 (e.g. meeting Adam) affects not only the protagonist but also the other members of the family, and even other characters across the town. Romantic interests have their own backstories, and the side characters (e.g. Gabriel in this book), in addition to the main protagonists, are always growing, learning from their mistakes. I found the character dynamics in this book particularly fascinating because I like Nick more than I like Gabriel, and I'm curious about their twin bond.

**These plots are very much focused on the characters in an almost contemporary-like fashion (minus, of course, your & their awareness of their powers), and yet with her past two novels, Brigid Kemmerer has managed to surprise me with some unpredictable plot twists. This is a series that is definitely improving with each book.

**The writing is just as compulsively readable and smooth as ever before.

If you haven't read any of these novels, you still can! Although starting with Secret means you might get spoiled by some mentions of previous plot points, Kemmerer does a good job keeping readers, no matter how many of her books they've read, up to date with the elements and where the characters currently stand in terms of danger level, their dynamics, etc.

As I said before: "This series is addicting. The books are easy to read, and they're just plain fun. Sometimes I didn't expect the pull. I'd pick up the book or open the Kindle app... and hours later, I was still reading, hooked to the page.

The great character dynamics and growth in the Elementals series make it stand out among the other YA PNR series. Recommended if you're looking for something fun but with some heart too."


  1. I can't believe I haven't started this one yet...I feel like I should be publicly shamed, after all that promo I did for the third book and for the read-along. :P Still, I think I was afraid it wouldn't be as good, that after having been away from the series for a bit (since I read the others back-to-back), I wouldn't feel the same way, so I keep putting it off. Sounds like it's even better, though. :) Glad you're still having fun with this series, Christina, and that it's still as addictive as ever!

    1. Hahaha, don't worry about starting it just yet. You still have time and rushing it will only dim some of your enjoyment, no? You could do a binge read to get back into the mood if you're afraid of losing that Elementals touch or look at the one recap here (http://recaptains.blogspot.com/search/label/Brigid%20Kemmerer%3A%20Elemental). I hope that Secret will be as good for you as it was for me :).

  2. I have only read Storm in the series (found it enjoyable) but I REALLY want to read this one. I'll get the ebook though, because the cover is just...

    1. You should! It's LGBTQ friendly, features a gay teen protagonist and prolly works for the LGBTQ challenge you're doing (you are doing one, right? I'm not remembering wrongly, I hope)... The cover is eh. I prefer all the old ones. That's also definitely not what I'd picture the main character to look like.

      If you end up reading it, let me know how it goes!

  3. I have enjoyed most of the books in this series, but the last one, Spirit, was disappointing to me. Hunter tried my last bit of patience, so I've been hesitant to pick this up. Nice to see you loved this installment so much. I'll have to pick this up soon! Great review, Christina! :)

    1. Spirit was my least favorite of them all. Hunter was the hardest, I think, to relate to of the guys. Gabriel was angry, but I was curious why he was so alpha all the time, and he had that savior plotline that was compelling. So I get what you're saying. I hope you Secret works out better for you than Spirit :).

  4. One of my favorite sereis! Geez can't wait to read this :)

  5. I haven't read anything in this series yet so I skimmed your review, but now I feel like I'm scrambling to get my hands on the previous books. This sounds fantastic! Finally, more realistic teenagers in YA. And it sounds like almost all the elements (ha) were positive for you. Can't wait to join the fun :)

    1. Ha, nice pun :). It is good, solid PNR fun with concentration on the characters and realistic teenagers at that. I hope you enjoy the books :D

  6. "Mini."

    The changing character dynamics are one of my favorite things about the series. I love that the boys continue to live full lives outside their individual novels, and there's no dumb thing about how now everything is perfect for them because they found a lady.

    And the characters really do feel like real people. I'm a nigger fan of the series in general than you are, I think, and the boys' voices are the primary reason.

    1. "now everything is perfect for them because they found a lady." -- true. The only thing I'd say about that is that Chris, to me, still hasn't had as hard a time as the others? Michael, Gabriel, Nick, Hunter -- they've all had to deal with some problems and are living their lives outside their individual novels, but Chris is the one who still feels foreign to me. You are probably a larger fan than I am, but I agree that their voices are the primary motivator for my continuing with the series.

  7. The characters and twin thing sound interesting


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