Arzu's Reviews > Spark

Spark by Brigid Kemmerer
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Jun 05, 12

Read in June, 2012

Spark is the second book in the Elemental series, and features Gabriel Merrick⎯the bad boy Merrick, twin to Nick, and fire elemental. Gabriel’s element is fire, which is really quite fitting considering the guy has got a lot of fire in him, both literally and metaphorically. Gabriel has a short temper and, as Layne the love interest points out, his instinct is to use his fists to solve his problems. On the flip side, his twin brother Nick is the “good one”⎯the one who follows rules, who’s respectful to everyone, the one who’s kind and considerate. But despite their significant differences, they are very close until an argument which has everything to do with Gabriel’s anger and bottled up emotions and nothing to do with Nick. This puts him on the outs with Nick for the majority of the book.

Gabriel is really his own worst enemy in this book. He’s constantly pushing people away and letting his anger get the best of him so he comes off as a huge jerk and the few people in his life who genuinely care about him start questioning why they do. It’s understandable considering everything he’s been through⎯he blames himself for his parent’s death, the other Elementals in town are out to get him and his brothers (seriously, it’s like they can’t trust anyone!), and now the Guardians are after them too. And to top it off, he’s flunking math and his teacher has basically taken away the one outlet he has to release all his anger in a positive way⎯sports.

And then he meets Layne.

The quiet, smart girl in his math class somehow manages to get his attention, and not just because he needs her help with math. I really liked Layne and Gabriel together for several reasons. On the outside, they seem like the worst possible couple ever¬⎯a disaster waiting to happen. But they really complement each other perfectly. Layne’s level-headedness is the catalyst to some of the changes that we slowly start to see in Gabriel as the story progresses. He starts to realize how he’s been pushing away the people who care about him, and it all starts with Layne.

Ironically, she does the same thing. Doesn’t let people get close to her. And in the process of getting to know each other, they each realize this about each other and about themselves. In this case, opposites definitely attract and both characters are better for it. And a huge bonus was that this wasn’t a case of “insta-love” which irks me to no end.

The progression of their relationship is realistic as is the changes that we start to see in their characters. This was another strength of this book⎯the character development was realistic. And even in the end, Gabriel and Layne were still working through their problems⎯they both still have a ways to go before they’re over the problems they face.

As far as the plot, I felt like Gabriel’s story was much more about character development and setting up the next book in the series. It seemed like Spark was really more about setting up the next story in the series. Spark didn’t have as much action as the first book, it didn’t provide as much info about the Elemental world, and after the first book, I really thought we would hear more about the Guardians and what they’re planning for the Merrick boys. That really wasn’t the case. The plot of this story was more about how Gabriel was dealing with his personal problems and his control (or lack thereof) of his Element

The bottom line: I would definitely recommend this book. I mean who doesn’t love seeing a “bad boy” get his act together all while falling for the good girl? I think it’s a great follow-up to the first in the series. If I’m being completely honest, I probably wouldn’t have liked this story as much if it was a standalone. It just didn’t have a strong enough plot to stand on its own legs. But I’ve always thought that books that are part of series should really be judged by the overall series. This is just one piece of a bigger story and personally, I’m looking forward to finding out where the rest of the books will take us.
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