Nina's Reviews > Spark

Spark by Brigid Kemmerer
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it was amazing
bookshelves: paranormal-or-urban-fantasy, ya-pnr, 5-star, read-in-2013

Wow. No snark for this one; I've only got praise.

It took me (much) less than 12 hours to read this one - and that includes eating, sleeping and convincing a bunch of people to just stop talking to me already. Just to give you an idea of how much I liked it.

If I had a favourites shelf - which I don't because my favourite books change with the weather - this would go straight in there.

Much more intense and mature than the first book and novellas in the Elemental series, this one perfectly captured all the anger, frustration, loneliness and pent-up energy of adolescence - and what better element to express them than fire?
Gabriel is much more complex and vulnerable than I'd expected. In the first parts of the series we only got to see him through the eyes of other characters, to whom he seems more of an arrogant jackass than anything else. Now, delving into his own thoughts and feelings for the first time, I got to see how much pain and self-blame he's enduring, and my heart broke for him. He is, officially, one of the best written male teenagers I've ever encountered in any book. I'm being serious here. It's not just that he's hot and snarky and just plain fun - although, well, yeah.

All of the characters in this book are well-rounded, fully developed and complex, and each of them has specific problems and thoughts and expectations and ways of coping with what life and people throw at them.
Their lives intersect and influence each other continuously, just the way it happens irl, and the process was masterfully rendered in all its nuances.
As if that weren't enought, I got to delve even deeper into the Merrick brothers' relationship and see how deeply each of them affects the others, how they hurt and help each other, how they love each other so much that I'm reminded of why I always wanted siblings.
The more complex character dynamics don't only show within the Merrick family, but also between other characters like Layne, Simon, Becca's father and Hunter. I know I haven't been nice to him in the past: I thought he was creepy and dishonest and weird and he kind of freaked me out. Well, nevermind all that. He's awesome. He's a loyal friend, a scarred boy and a scheming bastard. I can't wait to read his story. And Nick's. And Michael's. Can I have more after these?
One more point in this series' favour is that each book concentrates on one love story, but its happenings involve all the characters around the two MCs, so each novel ends up being a choral story.

The romance: will you just look at that? A pnr YA het romance is what this is, and I loved it.
We have the not-very-original couple of 1 girl with stone walls around her, keeping her distance from everyone and particularly from her love interest + 1 bad boy showing his vulnerable side for the first time but without much hesitation because he knows she's the one = magic stuff. Because it was done realistically and it was explored deeply, so I believed it and loved it.
The fact that there was no useless angsting and wondering about the supernatural element helped a lot. That, in its turn, was helped by some, er, particular circumstances that made the situation pretty clear to Layne - hey, I'm trying not to spoil here, okay? That's a deus ex machina I despised, but really, it's buried under so much awesomeness and perfection that I just left it hidden down there. Layne herself is a wonderful character and I even loved her insecurities, because they were coupled with great strengths and because they weren't there just for their own sake, but to show what she'd been through.
Both she and Gabriel grew all throughout the book, thanks to each other and to other characters, and the love story was all the more believable because of that.

In short, everything here was more mature, intense, complex and visually powerful than the previous books - as if the author had suddenly had a writerly growth spurt - yet showed the teenage... world? Yeah, let's sound like a children's book critic - with laser-like precision.
Then there was the suspense - I was literally on the edge of my seat. I never do that. I'm usually lying down when I read, but at one point I was just walking around with my phone in a death grip because my ereader was dead (I always notice these things at the last possible minute) and I could not stop reading there.
And then there were scenes like this one:
Layne wanted to be brave. She wanted to be optimistic.
But she started crying anyway.
Nick's hand went over hers.
"Gabriel will find us. He'll get us out."
"How?" she choked. "How do you know?"
"Because he always does."

... that you probably won't even get because you have no idea what's going on, but I was just this tight little trembling ball of emotion.


*laughs* Okay, don't panic; there are some coherent, complete and comprehensible reviews of this book to be found on the Internet. I'll save you the work and send you here.
Forgive me, I've just woken up and I just had this mess of a review bubbling in my brain. I hope it conveyed all my love and awe.
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Reading Progress

July 24, 2013 – Started Reading
July 24, 2013 – Shelved
July 24, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
July 24, 2013 – Shelved as: paranormal-or-urban-fantasy
July 24, 2013 – Shelved as: ya-pnr
July 24, 2013 –
0.0% "This book has such a Teen Wolfy feel. You know, bunch of teenagers trying to deal with the supernatural and falling in love and all the clueless people around them not knowing what's going on?\n Gosh, I'm like a crackhead, always looking for the next hit. But hey, as long as it keeps me satisfied till the next episode. XD"
July 24, 2013 –
page 39
13.45% "Liking this a lot more than the first book and novellas in this series.\n Scratch that: liking this a lot, period."
July 24, 2013 –
page 68
23.45% "Oh. Oh. What the hell is going on here?\n \n Enormously intrigued."
July 24, 2013 –
page 127
43.79% "I just want everything to get better. Could someone please make things get better?"
July 24, 2013 –
page 158
54.48% "I knew it!\n Okay, Nina, no reason to be so proud, it was pretty fucking obvious."
July 24, 2013 – Shelved as: 5-star
July 25, 2013 – Finished Reading
December 26, 2013 – Shelved as: read-in-2013

Comments Showing 1-39 of 39 (39 new)

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Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		Hum, should I read this series?

Nina YES.
*cough*... I mean, yeah, sure.

Seriously though, the first books are all worth it even if only for this one.

Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		Dude, fabulous review, you don't need to link to nobody. You clearly conveyed your feelings and justified them well and totally convinced me.

Nina Vivian wrote: "Dude, fabulous review, you don't need to link to nobody. You clearly conveyed your feelings and justified them well and totally convinced me."

I love you. I was about to say "you have no idea", but obviously you do know how good it feels when someone tells you stuff like that. :D *mwah*

Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		I love you too :D. Of course I do. I bask in the praises of others, heh. *smooch*

Nina Thanks!

Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		Hm I just got a notification linking me back here. Then I reread your review and was re-amazed (and you can tell how impressed I am by my inability to type English properly *snort*).

message 9: by Nina (last edited Dec 27, 2013 03:17AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina You're a sweetheart. *smooch*

So. Hi! How was Christmas?

message 10: by Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌ (last edited Dec 27, 2013 03:25AM) (new)

Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		I spent all day inside occasionally glancing out at the miserable, rainy weather whilst sprawled upon my girl cousin (with whom I'm often accused of having an incestuous relationship with) on the mattress whilst also watching Elementary and consuming copious amounts of chocolate.

Oh, and I also got a very cute bag for educational pursuits... But it's a bit weird because it's a backpack and I've had a side bag for two years now.

How about you?

message 11: by Nina (last edited Dec 27, 2013 03:29AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina LOL is she older or younger than you?
I got three books, and I've already read one and a half. Also, the best-smelling body cream ever. Swear to god, I keep sniffing myself.
I got a bag too, though not for educational pursuits. Will you look at that.

I got a bunch of other stuff too, so overall I'm really satisfied. Except for the fact that the guy has turned into a clingy little fucker - even after I turned him down when he asked me out. Maybe my "I have stuff to do" excuse was too subtle?

Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		I didn't know how else to phrase that incriminating word so educational pursuits it is *grins*

Yepp she is! Younger than Jennifer, old than Catherine. Mhm, I wouldn't mind sniffing you. What scent?

"I have stuff to do" is so vague it couldn't be any more clearer. And please don't tell me that guy is the one you're destined to have halfie babies with. Please.

message 13: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina It's supposed to be a bunch of stuff like vanilla and sandalwood and whatnot, but the end result is something like burnt sugar. It's orgasmic.

Yes, he is. I want to cry. How is it that every guy I chat with ends up being an annoying little bitch?
He's started showering me with compliments, but he can't even do that right. He kept dropping hints about my "hot ass" for half an hour, but he just couldn't come out and say it outright? Please.
Also, apparently I'm really cute. And smart. And talented wrt languages. And funny. And wonderfully sarcastic and cynical. Ugh.

Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		Oh my god, stop. What is wrong with these guys? He seemed so wonderfully intelligent and normal and un-clingy... what happened? Reminds me of the time in Year 5 when I had my first semi-actual crush ever and the moment he started patting my head I dropped him quicker than a hot potato. Afterwards, I proclaimed him as my mortal enemy for a whole year. *snort* good old times.

What does burnt sugar taste like?

message 15: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Unbelievably sweet and at the same time slightly bitter. *moans*

It's unbearable. I don't know what to do to get him off my back. Everytime he sees me online on WhatsApp he starts writing to me, so it's either I chat with him and the person I actually want to chat with, or I don't chat with anyone.
We're going to be in the same class for two and a half more years, so I can't just tell him to fuck off, but I'm really tempted to do just that.
I used to love the playful banter, but now he just. Keeps. Gushing. -.-

Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		Sweetheart, sugar and moaning means only one thing, and I sure as hell am not going to be held responsible for what happens if things get out of hand...

Okay, why don't you try to twist the relationship back into the old razor sharp rivalry?

message 17: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Oh, come here, baby. I take full responsibility. *leers*

Yeah, right. He'll just get all pissy and offended and hurt. I swear to god, yesterday he started talking about how having a boyfriend/girlfriend is way more than friendship and sex, it's something wonderful that, idk, changes your life or something... WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. I was honestly weirded out. And creeped out. He's starting to sound like a lovesick psycho. I'm scared he'll come through my window while I'm sleeping and stare at me Edward-style or something.

message 18: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Also, my two best friends are visualising half-Korean babies too, only this... weirdness... hasn't changed their minds. They're matchmaking or something. It's terrifying.

Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		Ngh god, I could **** just from that. It has been so long *pout*.

HAHAHAHA oh dear. You're really a creep magnet, aren't you? How precious. I do enjoy hearing about these ridiculous boy troubles you have.

message 20: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina And whose fault is that exactly?

That is so not funny. It's somewhere between disturbing and depressing. The thing is, this dude and drummer guy are completely different types of people, yet they both turned into blubbering idiots as soon as they got their filthy little hands on my phone number. So it's either that I have a problem, or Italian guys in general do.

message 21: by Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌ (last edited Dec 27, 2013 04:44AM) (new)

Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		And the dude isn't even Italian. Nationality-wise anyway.

Maybe it's you. Or -- plot twist -- it's actually your phone number is cursed. Is your phone number actually unlucky? *grin*

message 22: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina He was born and raised here though. The culture and mentality has seeped into his veins together with the Asian genes.

Could it really be me? What's so weird about me? Am I too hot for humanity?
Shut up. My phone number is perfectly fine. It took me a year to learn it by heart - there's no way I'm going through that again.

Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		DNA is inescapable.

Mhm lady, too hot for humanity indeed.

message 24: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina You're biased.

Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		Yes I am.

And what I also am is sleepy. Slept at 4am yesterday, so to bed I go. *smooch*

Have a brilliant day!

message 26: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Goodnight! ^_^

message 27: by Kat (new)

Kat My words of advice: fuck it out of his system and get on with life.

message 28: by Nina (last edited Dec 27, 2013 05:26AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina I just want to stay as far away from him as possible. And to think that I had such a huge crush on this idiot... he still does have amazing hands though. Such a shame.

Vivian ♪(┌・。・)┌		Leave the hands be. Nobody ain't got time for that shit.

message 30: by Nina (last edited Dec 27, 2013 06:46AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Oh, I'm not going to touch his with a ten foot pole. Wouldn't want him to think we're getting married.

Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Nina wrote: "It's supposed to be a bunch of stuff like vanilla and sandalwood and whatnot, but the end result is something like burnt sugar. It's orgasmic.

Yes, he is. I want to cry. How is it that every guy I..."

Where is the body cream from?! Inquiring minds want to know...

message 32: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Nature's. It is so perfect... *blissed out face*

Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Nina wrote: "Nature's. It is so perfect... *blissed out face*"

I'm trying to find it online! Is that a brand? Website link please ;)

message 34: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Yeah, it's a brand, but tbh I wouldn't even know where to find it, since it was a gift. I'll try to ask the person who gave it to me.

message 35: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Heather - I'm so sorry, I completely forgot to get back to you about the body cream and I only realised that now, coming across this review again.

So here it is:
But: it's an Italian brand, so idk how much use that could be to you... >_<

Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Nina wrote: "Heather - I'm so sorry, I completely forgot to get back to you about the body cream and I only realised that now, coming across this review again.

So here it is:
But: it'..."

The one with vanilla and apricot butter?

message 37: by Nina (last edited Mar 15, 2014 01:14PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina Vanilla and sandalwood and some other stuff I can't remember. I've already finished it. xD
The one that basically smells like burnt sugar.

Heather K (dentist in my spare time) Nina wrote: "Vanilla and sandalwood and some other stuff I can't remember. I've already finished it. xD
The one that basically smells like burnt sugar."

Crap, it seems like they don't carry it in the states. :(

message 39: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina I'm really sorry about that. :(

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