Review: SPIRIT (Elemental #3)

I received this book for free from K Teen. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: SPIRIT (Elemental #3)
Elemental #3

Written by: Brigid Kemmerer
Published by: K Teen
Release date: May 28th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 301
Source: NetGalley
Format: eBook
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads
Also by this author: Secret, Sacrifice

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...

My Thoughts

I’ll be totally honest – I was not super excited about Spirit. Well, I mean, I was, but not nearly as excited as I am for Nick’s and Michael’s books. Hunter was not a character I was looking forward to spending an entire book with. I didn’t have much sympathy for him, I didn’t understand his issues from the previous books, and I felt like he was more of an antagonist than anything else – and not the kind that I loved to hate or hated to love, just the kind that I really didn’t like. The reason I was looking forward to this book was that I knew we’d get to spend some time with the Merrick brothers, and I was hoping that they’d be present enough to keep me engaged.

I was not counting on the fact that, not once in the entire book, would I end up wanting the Merrick brothers to show up and give me a break from all the Hunter-time.

Why did I ever doubt? Brigid pulled the same stunt with Spark – I didn’t like Gabriel, but she totally turned the tables once he got his say. Though with Spark, I expected to grow to like Gabriel, and was looking forward to getting to know him. Hunter, after two books, had somehow cemented himself in my mind as someone I Did Not – and Would Not – Like. How very wrong I was.

There is plenty of action and excitement in Spirit – par for the course, the Elemental series always delivers on that front. Calla is back stirring up more trouble, and there’s a new Guide in town, neither of which spell sunshine and daisies for Hunter and the Merricks. The plot never lacks in suspense, and there’s one or two huge twists at the end that I really did not see coming.

But I think the Elemental series’s real strength lies in the characters, and in Brigid’s talent for getting into their heads and forcing you to sympathize with them, feel for them. The action and excitement are great, but I am always a character-driven reader, so when a character who I didn’t like finally draws me in and makes me feel for him… I love that. In Spirit, we finally get to see what makes Hunter tick, why he doesn’t trust people, and what leads him to make “stupid” decisions, like the ones that made me dislike him in the first two books.

The best moments were still, for me, the ones with the Merricks, like Gabriel, and especially Michael. Gah, Michael is just an incredible character, and watching him help Hunter open up to him and his brothers was really great. The Merricks, for me, are what make up the real heart of this series. But like I said, Hunter still holds this book on his own. I never felt disconnected from Hunter’s story enough to hope that the Merricks would pop back in just for the sake of it.

One thing that annoyed me a little bit was Kate, Hunter’s love-interest. Kate, while being a totally kick-butt and confident character, felt much less well-developed than Hunter. There were a lot of secrets that we don’t find out until the end about Kate, which, if revealed earlier, would have made her attitude earlier in the book a lot more impactful, I think. She comes across as overly cocky most of the time, and there’s a reason for it; but it’s only revealed at the end, which in my opinion was a little too late. The plot demanded that those secrets be kept until later, but I think Kate’s character suffered as a result. Additionally, I know all the books have some insta-love going on, and I don’t normally mind it all that much. With this one, though, it felt markedly instant, and I was never able to shake it off.

But, Brigid said herself that this isn’t really a story about Hunter finding romance, so I’ll let the Kate-stuff slide. It’s really about Hunter finding himself, and in that, it definitely shines.

In conclusion…

I do think that Storm and Spark have stronger plotlines and I do still like the Merrick brothers best. ;) But, I still have to give this one 4 stars, because I think it accomplished exactly what it should have. It fully fleshes out Hunter as a flawed but sympathetic character, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to feeling the way I did about him in Storm/Spark. And Brigid was able to pull off what I thought was impossible – though I started the book with the hope that the Merrick brothers would let me enjoy this book despite it focusing on Hunter, once I really got into it, I was loving the book because it focused on Hunter. And that, I think, is a sure mark of success.

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