Earth. Fire. Air. Water.
One misstep and they lose it all. For the last time.
Michael Merrick understands pressure. He's the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it in for his family, and he's all that stands in the way.
His girlfriend, Hannah, understands pressure too. She's got a child of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could put her life in danger at any moment.
But there are people who have had enough of Michael's defiance, his family's 'bad luck'. Before he knows it, Michael's enemies have turned into the Merricks' enemies, and they're armed for war.
They're not interested in surrender. But Michael isn't the white flag type anyway. Everything is set for the final showdown.
Four elements, one family. Will they hold together, or be torn apart?
My thoughts on the book:
This is probably my favorite book in the series, but it is also the most difficult to read. Kemmerer pulls out all the stops this time around, and she is super hard on Michael the whole way through. However, he grows for it, and the Merrick boys get an uncertain, but not depressing, ending. My one complaint is how Kensington put the novellas at the back of the book, leading me to believe that the novel was longer. Therefore, I didn't have an emotional connection to many of the situations because I thought they'd somehow rectify themselves in the end, not knowing that the end was like 3 pages away. Other than that, this book is fantastic, and I'd recommend this series to anyone who is looking for something real and gritty with a unique paranormal twist.
Michael really blew me away in this novel. I felt so bad for him at times and other times I wanted to pummel him because he was so stubborn. His family and friends and frenemies put him in his place, though, and some of the characters who reappeared in this installment really surprised me. I enjoyed getting to know more about Tyler, and I was shocked that I didn't just flat out hate him (I always hate bullies). I figured if Michael could forgive him, then so could I, though. Also, Irish, a new character, was really interesting. I really enjoyed learning about him. I had his secret figured out pretty early on, but how it manifested still surprised me. I also liked watching Hannah's relationship with her father evolve.
The plot was tough and gritty and full of action and suspense. Poor Michael could not catch a break. Kemmerer didn't pull any punches, and she showed her bravery as an author with many of the choices she made. As I previously stated, I felt a bit robbed of emotional responses to certain occurrences because my e-book said I was at 62%, so I thought things had time to work themselves out, but that is no fault of the author's. Also, Kemmerer dealt with the fact that racism and sexual harassment exist in the workforce, and more often that not, nothing can be done to stop it. The writing was spectacular, and the world-building and scene descriptions made me feel like I was there with Michael through all of this horror. The pacing was spot on, and this was an extremely quick read. The ending was uncertain, but it fit. I felt that the last scene kind of put a close to this part of the Merrick boys' lives. Things were still up in the air, but they'd all grown so much that it was time for the next parts of their lives to start. I was satisfied with the how things ended, though I was sad about one of the events.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and series. Kemmerer addressed some really important issues in this series, and I must commend her for creating books to deal with harsh realities such as bullying and racism She wasn't afraid to create a book to tell the story of Nick, a gay character (Breathe), which I commend her for. It was a beautiful story. She also didn't back down and made Adam, Nick's boyfriend, a big part of this book, which I loved. She dealt with teen pregnancy in Michael's girlfriend, Hannah, and racism by looking at the harassment that Irish encountered. Every story in this series is extremely important and speaks to larger problems that occur in today's society. Kemmerer is arguably one of the most important YA authors to grace the scene, and I can't wait to see what she writes about next.
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