Publisher: Kensington Teen
Received from Publisher for review
Paperback 301 pages
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From Goodreads-With power comes enemies. Lots of them. Hunter Garrity just wants to be left alone. He’s learned the hard way that his unusual abilities come at a price. And he can’t seem to afford any allies. He’s up to his neck in hostiles. His grandfather, spoiling for a fight. The Merrick brothers, who think he ratted them out. Calla, the scheming psycho who wants to use him as bait. Then there’s Kate Sullivan, the new girl at school. She’s not hostile. She’s bold. Funny. Hot. But she’s got an agenda, too. With supposedly secret powers rippling to the surface everywhere around him, Hunter knows something ugly is about to go down. But finding out what means he’ll have to find someone he can trust…
I don't know how she did it. I have hated, strongly, passionately, with fervor, hated Hunter since this series began. I knew there would be no way I would like him or ever feel the slightest bit of empathy for him. I could not have been more wrong. While he isn't my favorite in the Elemental series, I like him. I understand him. I damn near cried for him. I felt really bad for him. And I am hoping that Gabriel Merrick finally stops hitting him because I might just have to stand in his way and tell him to grow up.
If you haven't heard of Brigid Kemmerer or her Elemental Series then I'm pretty sure you've been living under a rock or in a convent. These novels are oozing with steamy scenes between the Merrick brothers and their love interests be it a girl or another guy. And then there is Hunter, the outsider. He isn't exactly an elemental, he is all the elements. And he's becoming someone I like. I really never thought I'd write that. I think I might owe Brigid some money or something. We might have made a bet.
So let's break it down like I usually do-
Hunter Garrity-. Well, I've never trusted him. Even in this novel, he shows that even he doesn't know how much he can be trusted, but I finally understand why that is and how he learned those lessons. I get his powers more now as well. I understand his living situation. I get what happened with his dad and uncle. I just get Hunter. The whole book is in his head and a running diatribe of how he thinks and he is terribly flawed in his thinking. But what boy in this series hasn't been? Hunter though, he has been screwed up from his father, his uncle, his mom, grandfather, girls, the Merricks, everyone he knows, he thinks. Hunter walks a shaky line not knowing who to trust, what's right, what's wrong. His head tells him the Merrick brothers are an abomination and should be killed, that's what his dad and uncle would do, that's what he was raised to believe. But yet, time and again, he can't kill them. Not only them, but people that really deserve it. Hunter feels abandoned, confused, lonely, devastated, conflicted, torn and betrayed. He's a wreck. He's got this big wall he puts up between himself and others and it is hard to break. It's still there, but it's ready to come down. It was down for a bit. I'm wondering if he'll get his own book again???
Michael Merrick-This is big brother. He has a much bigger part in this novel and I am so happy to see it. I LOVE this guy. He took over raising his brothers right after his parents died at 18, gave up his dreams and has been dealing with their crap (can you imagine trying to raise Gabriel?) for a long time. He wasn't prepared to do it, but he's learned a lot about how to talk to his brothers and he's good with Hunter who needs someone to listen to him. He's not condescending. He's not fatherly. He's just quiet. Then says something totally out of the blue that Hunter needs to hear and it helps so much. Just when Hunter thinks "I'll crack if you're nice to me" Michael just sits there and doesn't say a word. Just sits there quietly. Michael is outstanding when it comes to reading Hunter. I just want to hug him and tell him what a great job he's done. He's come a long way from the first novel when he was always verbally sparring with Gabriel. He seems wiser, more at peace.
Kate- Wow, she was like a hurricane coming into Hunter's life. Full of energy and life and ideas and feelings. She really changed things for him. And I think he changed things for her. I didn't like her at first because she was faking things with him and Hunter was already so beaten down. I mean, I was already feeling so sorry for him, I didn't want him to get hurt any more than he already was. But when the true Kate came out, when she admitted to how she saw things, how she viewed the Merricks, I really liked her. I wasn't sure how she'd fit in with everyone, but that didn't matter.
The world- Well no need to explain that, same town, same school. Two new guides have been sent to kill the elementals who have been causing the fires.
The Story- Well, there's a lot going on in this one. Since this is all told from Hunter's point of view (for the most part) we don't know what the Merricks are up to so we don't know what they are thinking or their plans. Two new Guides have been sent to town to find the elementals and eliminate them. Kate is one, who's job it is to infiltrate the school and find the Merricks as everyone as usual is blaming them for the fires. Hunter was in the library during that fire in the last book and knows it was Calla that started the fire and she confessed to causing the rock slide that killed his father and uncle. He had a gun, but couldn't pull the trigger.
Now Calla is pretending that he assaulted her so he has to stay away from her and she's made it clear she can make his life hell. She wants him to call more Guides to town so they can fight them and she's not afraid to kill more people and start more fires to do it.
Here's what I thought- I was stunned, I still am, that Hunter seemed so vulnerable when I got inside his head. No wonder I didn't like him, he doesn't even like himself when it came down to it. He doesn't even know who he is. But he's got a constant battle going on inside of himself fighting what he knows is right against what he was taught to believe. He deeply wants to belong, but he's afraid of putting himself out there based on past experiences. Brigid Kemmerer addressed feelings and emotions that teenage boys experience, but rarely talk about for fear of being laughed at. You see that when Hunter tries not to talk to Michael. He keeps this thing inside, this horrific thing that happened to him to himself because he's afraid he'll look weak for needing to talk about it, or worse that he'll cry. But sometimes things just have to be said. And in some instances, tears have to be shed. With Hunter, tears needed to be shed. He'd held too much in for too long.
Though the ending brings easier times for Hunter, it's bittersweet. Get ready, it's an emotional story. And yeah, you're probably gonna like Hunter at the end. I would never have thought it could happen, but yeah, I do.
Other stories in the series-
Elemental/ Storm/ Fearless/ Spark/ Breathless
Find Brigid Kemmerer Here!