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REVIEW: Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

Dear Ms. Kemmerer:

I was excited that I found Spark at NetGalley the day after I finished Storm, the first your Elemental Series. The four Merrick brothers are Elementals, individuals born on the point of a Pentagon which gives them power over one of the four elements.  Elementals are often responsible for wars and tragedies and so Guides are sent to kill them.  The Merricks are not yet fully in control of their powers and spikes of emotion affect that control.

Possibly the least in control of his emotions and powers is Gabriel, the jock, whose first emotional range seems to start at irritated and end with outraged.    Nothing seems to be going right for Gabriel.  He’s tired of being the dumb twin.  Nick, his twin, starts to date a girl and hang out with their younger brother more.  Worse, Gabe’s ability to call up fire seems damaged.  When caught in a bad situation, Gabriel’s first response is to be aggressive.  While it makes Gabe a jerk, it also makes him sympathetic because you can see him straining to be better but he just doesn’t know how to go about do it. He can’t get his better angels out in front of the angry ones and the spiral of bad behavior chasing after negative feelings keeps circling.  His desolation emotes from every slur and insult he casts at others.

This is a great series because as I mentioned in the review Storm, all the characters have an authentic feel to them.

Layne Forrest is a rich kid who is taking advanced classes.  She’s socially awkward, has no style, and unfortunate tendency to get caught staring, both at girls and guys.  Her only friend is Kara who is really only interested in Layne because Layne’s house is full of expensive stuff that Layne allows Kara to use.  Layne’s brother is deaf and the target of school bullies. Her parents are emotionally absent. Layne isn’t turned on or excited by Gabriel’s tendency to hit first, ask questions later.  Why Layne reaches out to Gabriel is the one thing I didn’t totally understand.  I couldn’t get a handle on her motivations.  Was it simply because he was hot? Because he had been nice to her brother once?  Maybe it was because like called to like, her loneliness reaching out to his.

I was also uncomfortable with when the sexual attraction between Layne and Gabriel manifested into physical interaction so soon after a traumatic encounter with another boy.  Maybe it was to show how horny teens react? Wasn’t sure about that.  Finally, Layne is beset by a true physical deformity and I wasn’t thrilled with how that was resolved at the end either.

Overall, though, I thought it was another strong entry in the series and I can’t wait for the rest.  Bring on more Elementals please.  B

Best regards,



Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. cleo
    Sep 11, 2012 @ 13:37:57

    I’m so glad you reviewed this now. I read it over the weekend – in fact I think it was your review of Storm that reminded me to buy this one. I didn’t like it as much as you, although I agree with you about the strengths of the book. I’m not a big fan of angry heroes, even if I understand why they’re angry.

    And there was something towards the end of the book that made me angry – even now I’m not sure if I’m overreacting or not.

    Buried Comment (Reason: spoiler)   Show

    Layne has scars on her torso – from a house fire when she was young. She’s really self conscious about them and it’s an issue when she and Gabe start getting physical. Gabe is really sweet (this didn’t make me mad) and keep reassuring her that he thinks she’s beautiful and isn’t bothered by touching her scars. Then they get caught in a fire, Gabe does something with his power to save her, and when she gets home, her scars were completely gone. And that’s what made me mad. I loved that he liked her with the scars, so why did she have to be magically cured of them?

  2. Jane Litte
    Sep 11, 2012 @ 13:50:42


    Buried Comment (Reason: spoiler)   Show

    I agree! I didn’t understand why the scars had to be gone. I was unhappy with the ending of Nalini Singh’s Nocturne romance for the very same reason. The scars were part of her identity and by “healing” her, I felt that there was some kind unspoken statement about the need for perfection.

  3. cleo
    Sep 11, 2012 @ 13:59:56

    @Jane Litte: That’s exactly how I feel, but I wasn’t able to articulate it as well. And I love the buried comment thing – that’s so cool.

  4. Jane Litte
    Sep 11, 2012 @ 15:31:59

    @cleo Any commenter can use the buried comment thing. Simply use open brack [ shush reason = “whatever” ] text of the buried comment [ / shush]

    Except without the spaces between the brackets.

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