July 10, 2013

Spark - Brigid Kemmerer

[This is the second book in the Elemental series. Please feel free to check out my review of Storm (Book 1) instead.]

Spark - Brigid Kemmerer
Spark by Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elemental #2
Publisher: K Teen (Kensington)
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Source/Format: Bought || Paperback

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. (from Goodreads)

If Storm stirred up a riot of emotions, Spark struck the match and set those emotions aflame. My heart felt like it would burst as I read, filled to overflow as it was for my affection for the Merricks. This book focuses particularly on Gabriel, who happens to be extremely hot – and not just because he’s the brother who handles fire. Kemmerer provides an intimate glimpse into Gabriel’s mind, and it’s definitely the reason that his story was the most fascinating one in the series so far. Intertwined with his curious tale is Layne’s story, which is a bit less high stakes, but just as heavy-hitting emotionally. The lethal combination of elemental action, a look into Gabriel’s innermost thoughts and the sweetest romance was effective in making me fall in love with this novel and want more of these characters.

There are not enough words for me to say how much I adore Gabriel Merrick after reading this book. I already liked him and his brother Nick in Storm, but it was magnificent to really get to know Gabriel. He puts on such a tough front, emanating all this power, confidence, fearlessness and even ruthlessness. But hidden underneath all that lies fear, insecurity and a whole lot of self-doubt and self-loathing – and it’s heartbreaking to witness. Gabriel is stripped bare, as we’re permitted to see his vulnerability, his emotions and the things that make him feel weak. Exposing him this way definitely allowed me to learn more about him, and to fall harder for him, with the end result being that I loved Gabriel, violent history, powerful tendencies and tantrums, hidden sensitivity and all.

Because I have such a high regard for Gabriel, it was important to me that the girl he ended up with was the right girl for him. I honestly can’t think of a better pair for him than Layne, a girl who has some troubles of her own. Layne is smart, and with her intelligence comes a witty, observant personality. She’s also extremely kind and patient, the kind of person who goes out of their way to take care of other people if it’s within her ability. In spite of what life has thrown at her, she’s determined to succeed and still has a hopeful spirit. Her sweet spirit makes her the complete opposite of Gabriel, but she matches him in stubbornness and a refusal to back down.

Obviously, the fact that they’re both pretty stubborn and passionate makes for a hot romance. With their banter and their begrudgingly given friendship, you can already sense the tension between the pair. When it finally explodes into something more, it’s just incredible to witness their chemistry. I had to stop and fan myself a couple of times, just because it was getting hot and heavy and I was just about ready to swoon. I enjoyed their romance, as it wasn’t an easy one at all. There were a lot of things that they both needed to go through in order to forge a stronger, better relationship, and I’m happy that Kemmerer was realistic enough to include that in her story. 

This book isn’t just about the romance. There’s also the elemental aspect, where Gabriel is getting blamed for fires that a mysterious arsonist is starting. These big incidents are practically beacons to the guides, and in order to prevent that and unable to resist the flames, Gabriel (and surprisingly, Hunter) make an attempt to help and to figure things out. There’s also Layne’s family’s problems and her problems with people at school, which are two contemporary issues that are surprisingly well-engineered to fit perfectly into this story. And then there’s the relationship between the Merrick brothers, where Gabriel feels separated from his twin Nick for the first time ever and a growing rapport with his older brother Michael. Each of these things becomes an essential part of this story in the end, and I like that the author took the time and care to make sure they were done right.

Clearly, I cannot contain my burning enthusiasm for Spark. It’s a damn good second novel (and you know it is because I said damn, and I never do), with enough character development, romance and action to appeal to all sorts of readers. Fans of the Elemental series will enjoy this intimate glimpse into Gabriel’s life, and will adore meeting Layne who’s definitely meant to be his other half. Ending this novel was like saying goodbye to your best friend - heartbreak at the parting, but hopeful in the knowledge that you’ll see them again. Spark is just amazing, and I sincerely think readers will adore it.


  1. Ah so glad you loved this one! Brigid is one of my favourite authors and I simply love this series to pieces. <3 <3

    Totally agree with your thoughts about the awesomness of Gabriel and how he's stripped bare in this one. And Layne really was quite the perfect match to him, and oh my gosh, the ROMANCE. *fans self furiously* Some of those scenes. Gah. Gah. Gah.

    Great review Alexa! :)

  2. You already know how I feel about Gabriel Merrick! It was so much fun reading this together and I'm thinking we should probably do a re-read together in the future too :)

  3. Seriously, Alexa, I am so jealous of your ability to pack in all these awesome spark/fire puns into one review. I tried adding in my puns to my review, yet they all sucked, haha. ;)

    But anyways, I'm glad you loved this one so much!! I loved getting into Gabriel's head, because in the previous book, I felt as if I didn't really know him well. Seeing his more vulnerable side was just awesome. And I did think Layne was the perfect match for him. Their romance was also so gorgeous. Also, can I just mention that bromance between Gabriel and Hunter is really flipping awesome?

    Ah-mazing review, Alexa! I can't wait to see what you think about Spirit!

  4. GAHHHH fall ARCs then I am MAKING myself start this series. I just about swooned myself over here with you talking about Gabriel, and Layne, and how good this one was, Alexa! I have continually heard just amazing things about this series. It's awesome you liked this second one just as much as the first. :) Loved the puns!

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