September 9, 2014

Sacrifice - Brigid Kemmerer

[Please note that this is the fifth novel in the Elemental series, so there may be spoilers for the previous books. You can alternatively check out my review of the novellas, book one Storm, book two Spark, book three Spirit or book four Secret.]

Sacrifice book cover
Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elemental #5
Publisher: Kensington Teen
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Source/Format: NetGalley (Thank you, Kensington!) || e-galley
[I received this book for review from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

Michael Merrick is used to pressure. 

He’s the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it out for his family, and he’s all that stands in the way. 

His girlfriend, Hannah, gets that. She’s got a kid of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could end her life without a moment’s notice. 

But there are people who have had enough of Michael’s defiance, his family’s “bad luck.” Before he knows it, Michael’s enemies have turned into the Merricks’ enemies, and they’re armed for war. 

They’re not interested in surrender. But Michael isn’t the white flag type anyway. There will be blood on the ground tonight… (from Goodreads)

Sacrifice was an intense ending for the Elemental series! It felt like a whirlwind, as everything progressed at such a fast pace from start to end. Because the stakes are so high for every single person, the quick pace honestly didn't bother me at all and, in fact, felt quite fitting. But it was the combination of action, drama and characters I loved that really did the trick and held my attention.

Sacrifice focuses heavily on Michael Merrick, the eldest of the Merrick siblings. Since their parents are no longer around, he's the one who has the pressure of caring for his younger brothers, earning a living and keeping things together - and that's a lot to ask of a man who is barely an adult himself. But Michael rises up admirably to the challenge, assuming the mantle of responsibility and really pushing himself to do the best he can for the people he loves. I've admired his character from the start, especially how steady and smart he was. But with Sacrifice, I love him even more, because we're also introduced to another side of him - a side that's a bit more aggressive, impulsive and dangerous - and it's very attractive (and a teensy bit terrifying too).

The conflict in Sacrifice is all on Michael's shoulders, but deals with every aspect of his life: his home + business, his brothers, his full Elemental abilities, and even Hannah. It's interesting to see how every challenge he faces both breaks and remakes him, and it's a true test of his character in every way as each new development is more terrifying and impossible than the last. While I do wish the other Merrick boys (and even Hunter) had been a wee bit more involved, I actually appreciate the fact that it's all about Michael this time around!

With Sacrifice, readers will slip back into the familiarity of the setting and characters easily. But, with every turn, the situation gets messier and scarier and it becomes a maelstrom of conflict and confusion and suspense. While I thought it ended a bit too abruptly (I need more. Always.), it was still quite the thrill ride. Kemmerer brings this series to just the right close for these boys, and Sacrifice, along with its predecessors, will always hold a special place in my heart.


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