Sarah (saz101)'s Reviews > Spark

Spark by Brigid Kemmerer
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's review
Apr 09, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: paranormal, 2012-releases, young-adult
Read from June 05 to 27, 2012

There’s no denying Brigid Kemmerer took the blogosphere by, well, ’storm’ earlier this year with her debut novel, so it comes as little surprise her sophomore release, Spark, is just as incendiary. So, now I’m satisfied it’s not possible to include any additional puns in this paragraph, let’s talk about what makes Spark so damn good.

The Story:
It's never been more dangerous to be an Elemental. 'Gifted' with the ability to control fire, Gabriel Merrick is explosive as his element, and after recent attacks on his family by 'Guides'—the body that governs elementals, and executes full-blooded ones like Gabriel and his three brothers—it feels like his ability to hold it together is more tenuous than ever. The fact that he’s failing his classes and has been caught out for cheating is just one more step towards breaking, not to mention the recent spate of torched homes, and that the fire department seems to think he's a suspect.

Then along comes Layne. A quiet, shy, brainiac, Gabriel’s sat next to her in calculus for ages, but it’s only now that he notices her. Well, Layne’s sure noticed him, and as she helps him with his study, the two can’t deny the chemistry they share. While Layne has dark, painful secrets of her own, Gabriel’s may just get them both killed...

My Thoughts:
Picking up where Storm left off, Brigid wastes no time jumping straight into the action. The familiar rhythm of her prose returns, as does her razor sharp dialogue and humour. But rather than Storm’s narrators, Chris Merrick and Becca Chandler, Spark introduces readers to two new protagonists: a shy, brainy woman named Layne, and someone they already know: Gabriel Merrick.

It’s more dangerous than ever to be an Elemental, but Gabriel Merrick has a knack for playing with fire. It’s Gabriel who proves Spark's’s biggest surprise. An easy fan-favourite in Storm, despite his initially callous treatment of its protagonist, Gabriel is very different to the abrasive, cocky jock readers may think they already know. There is a lot more to Gabriel Merrick than meets the eye, and indeed more than he himself may recognise. The jock façade is hiding a raging inferno of pain, self-doubt and loneliness. In many ways, it’s these qualities that connect him with Layne, as well as building a difficult roadblock to what develops between them.

Layne, like Gabriel, hides a past of secrets and hurt, but while she is quiet and shy, she is certainly not meek. Layne has an inner-core of steel and a quiet strength, but she is not perfect—far from it. While she is selfless with those she loves, she is prone to defensiveness, slow to trust and cagey, but it only serves to render her more relateable and sympathetic.

In Storm, Brigid demonstrated an extraordinary talent for building a world and populating it with characters who felt real. From her pitch-perfect Merrick brothers, to the damaged but sweet Becca, there is an authenticity to her characters, and their stories, and it is no less present in Spark. Again, Brigid takes a cold hard look at bullying in its many forms, and at the helpless fury and hopelessness it creates in its victims. She examines pain, grief and isolation, but never in a melodramatic or overwrought fashion. Allowing actions to speak for themselves, Kemmerer presents a world with life how it is: beautiful and ugly, just and unfair, filled with terrible wrongs and rights. Gabriel and Layne are not perfect, nor are those they love, but they are human and eminently likable characters. Even at their darkest moments, they elicit undeniable empathy at the tip of Kemmerer’s pen. And that’s not even mentioning what else they elicit in their thrilling, sizzling-hot scenes together. The chemistry the couple share is electrifying, and readers looking for even more heat from a book filled with fires will be far from dissapointed.

As in Storm, at the heart of Spark are the Merrick brothers. But recent events have left raw nerves and short tempers, and we see a more combustible side to the family, as well as deepening bonds between the growing cast of secondary characters. Readers of Storm would have seen identical twins Nick and Gabriel as two halves of a whole, and there’s a palpable aching as a rift drives them apart in Spark.

While it would be easy for Kemmerer to have written a book purely focused on and driven by the paranormal, she never takes this path, and it’s one of her Elemental series’ greatest strengths: Brigid does not write about the supernatural, she writes about, people. Paranormal abilities do not serve to make her players more magnetic or romantic; rather, they are challenges. She does not romanticise great power, but examines its cost, its responsibilities. Indeed, the Elemental series reads less like teen-vampire dramas, and more like gritty contemporaries.

The Verdict:
Readers who fell in love with Storm with be thrilled by this explosive sequel. Spark delivers on all fronts: action, a sizzling-hot romance, and yes, hot boys are all there, but there is more. Spark, like Storm, has heart. It has a human sensibility to its supernatural elements, and it is these, perfectly balanced with riveting story and flawless pacing that combine to make another compulsively readable offering from its talented author. Brigid Kemmerer delivers again: big time.
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Reading Progress

06/04/2012 page 1
0.29% "'A girl on the cheer squad once asked Gabriel if having a twin was like looking in a mirror all the time. He'd asked if being a cheerleader was like being an idiot all the time.'

THIS IS (one of the, many) THE REASON I LOVE BRIGID."
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Comments (showing 1-27 of 27) (27 new)

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Rachel Its on netgallery if you use that site!

Sarah (saz101) Hehehehe! I know--I requested this morning :D

Rachel Cool! I requested it 4 hours ago. :)

Sarah (saz101) *waits*
*waits more*


Sarah (saz101) I have a friend who got auto approved. I was saaaaad.

Braiden I just requested it.

Sarah (saz101) Me too ^__^

Rachel I haven't got approved yet either, Hopefully tomorrow. or I'll be sad.

message 9: by Brigid (new) - added it

Brigid If you're not auto-approved, send me an email with your blog web address and your email address, and I'll forward to my publicist to have you approved. :-)

Sarah (saz101) Brigid, have I mentioned how much I love you, today? ♥

Annie i am SO doing this.
-random girl/blogger who has been frantically checking her email every five minutes for approval to Spark :)

Annie Sarah (saz101) wrote: "*waits*
*waits more*


i feel the same way!!! yes! someone who understands!!!!!

Sarah (saz101) RIIIIGHT? It's Brigid's fault. If she wasn't so bloody talented... :P

message 14: by Brigid (new) - added it

Brigid Have any of you gotten approved?

Rachel Yep! I got approved yesterday! It was a fantastic read!

message 16: by Brigid (new) - added it

Brigid HOLY CRAP. You read it ALREADY? (And thank you!!!)

Braiden I got approved!!

Sarah (saz101) BRAIDEN.


Rachel... how is even possible you read that fast... do you even sleep? :O

Rachel I have always been a fast reader. I read Spark from 6 to 9 last night. :) I hope you are approved soon Sarah!

Sarah (saz101) That's not fast. That's insane. I'm convinced you're not human. *prods*

Rachel An alien who is done with school and has does not have her next exam till friday so I had two full days to study so I could read an awesome book with no distractions!

message 22: by Taneika (new) - added it

Taneika IT'S ON NETGALLEY? Ahhhh I only just finished Storm yesterday and I want this now! I can understand why you love this series so much, I read the extract from Spark and I have no words. *keels over and dies*

Sarah (saz101) RIIIIIIGHT?!
And this insane alien girl just above you has ALREADY READ IT O____O

message 24: by Taneika (last edited Jun 06, 2012 06:22PM) (new) - added it

Taneika AHHHHH. And I have ALL THE TIME in the world now (as in FOUR WEEKS to do nothing but read) because I finished my third and final exam for this semester last night. WOOO! I just requested it *fingers and toes crossed*

Wooo Rachel! You lucky duck :) my exams started two nights ago and then the next morning I had two exams in a row and now I'm done! Weeee!

Rachel Yay! For school being over! (not till monday for me, but thankfully its soon)
Also yay for enjoying Storm!

message 26: by Taneika (new) - added it

Taneika Oooh Monday isn't far away :D How exciting!
Yay for me hopefully passing my first semester of my second year of uni ;)
And yeah.. instead of using extra time to study, I'd get bored and read a chapter (or three) of Storm! It shouldn't have been so awesome

Annie I know! this book is too amazing! I literally have lost sanity, I am just frantically refreshing my email looking for a net galley reply to my Spark request! I think I'm gonaa go insane before then plus I'm reviewing another book that makes my heart stop so DOUBLE WHAMMY. i have a hard life ;)

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