Sunday, May 12, 2013

Don't Let the Spirit Die

Imagine my excitement and downright happiness when I saw Spirit (Elemental, #3) on NetGalley. My heart was doing somersaults of pure joy, even more so when I got approved to do a review. I couldn't wait to dig in after I finished Spark. I just had to know Hunter's story, because besides Gabriel, he's my favorite guy.

*Possible spoilers in the My Thoughts section. And definitely don't read this review if you haven't read the first two books in the series.

Rating: 5/5 stars!
The Characters:
Hunter: I was more than slightly surprised at his story. The calm and collected facade disappeared, and it left Hunter vulnerable and alone, just fighting to keep himself strong and in control of his life. I loved seeing this new side to him, this side that he's been fighting to let loose because he doesn't want to let the pain and grief out. He's stoic, strong, and determined to stay in control. For most of the beginning, all I wanted to do was give him a big hug because of what he was going through. He may have made mistakes in the past, but he wants to right those wrongs. He wants redemption. He feels off balance, out of place, and it scares him. He's having a hard time controlling his emotions, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why, considering his home situation and the loss of his father and uncle.

Kate: When I started the book and read her viewpoint, I had a bad feeling. "Not again!" was my only thought as I struggled to like her, but only because of why she was there. There's obviously some pain in her life, and a feeling of despair and anger, that sends her on this mission. And she obviously really likes Hunter, yet with what's going on in her life and his, it seems impossible that any relationship between them would work out. Her mission only complicates everything, and so does her feelings toward him. 

I was really glad that all of the Merricks were back. In the last book, it was all Gabriel, with some Michael thrown in, and a little of Nick. This time, though, with Hunter getting back in their good graces and patching up old friendships, we got to know a lot more and see a lot more of the brothers' interactions. And I just LOVE the brothers; their playful fighting, fierce protectiveness, and beautiful bond with each other. Throwing Hunter in the mix didn't really put a strain on anything, and it's almost like he's a fifth brother to them. As Gabriel so eloquently put it: "Brotherhood. Welcome to the family." I absolutely melt at that. <3

I'd like more with the girls, though. I thought Becca and Layne were both fearsome heroines when they were the focus of the first two books. There were a few scenes with them in it, mostly when all of the characters were together. They are both great additions to the Elementals' family and story. But Becca was practically invisible in the last one, and so was Quinn. I didn't care that she was, and I'm really nervous about Nick's book, Secret, because she's in it. Still with Nick. Grrr.

The Plot:
It wasn't as action packed as Storm or as explosive as Spark. It had its own weight and depth, a more emotional story-line for Hunter Garrity, which I must say, is kind of nice and different. In the first two books, Hunter always seemed so calm, cool, and collected. Quiet. Inquisitive. Dangerous. But that's only part of him, the part that was trained by his father for all his life, the part of him that never used to question anything that his father taught him. What about the part of his life that wasn't controlled by the Guides or his marine father? The Merricks still question Hunter's loyalties, and when they find out what's been going on, they drop the hostility to help him, because that's the kind of men they are. They're still wary, and Gabriel's trust is the hardest to earn back. But Hunter doesn't feel so alone anymore. The sparring and dangerous flirtation between him and Kate was played to a tee. It was perfect for them. The danger is still ominous, especially with so many terrible things happening around town. With trying to figure out all the players, wondering if the Merricks really do care, and questioning right and wrong, Hunter has his hands full. 

The Writing:
I love how Kemmerer writes such believable characters, ones that I become attached to when I read about them. Hunter's voice was very easy to like, and even Kate's was. There's not much else to say about her writing style, because I love it and I've already talked enough about it in my Spark review. 

My Thoughts:
Okay, when I was first reading, I wasn't even sure if this book would get five stars. The beginning was explosive, alright, but it needed something. But everything, from the characters to the danger to the romance, was fantastic. It was everything I could have wanted in this book, and everything I could have wanted when the author told Hunter's story.

My first thought when I met Kate was "WHY?!" Again with the agendas and deceit and lies! Hunter has already been through that. Twice. I didn't want him to have to go through another relationship (if you can call the other two that) with another dubious woman, even if she is not completely against him and the Merricks. But I loved their relationship, even if it was most of the time them trying to figure out if they could trust each other. Hunter and Kate were great together, and they had a lot more in common than either of them think. And with the situations Hunter was facing and the stuff going on at home, I just wanted to hate the author for breaking him down like that. But I just couldn't hate her, because it was Hunter's story. I think he kind of needed that push toward the Merricks, so he would actually have people in his corner, friends who had his back. And let me just say, I freaking love Michael in this book. So sweet, so caring, so protective. I just.. just, love him. 

I went through so many emotions reading this book. In one minute, I was sad, another I was laughing at something one of the characters said. I felt my heart lift with Michael's protectiveness and kindness toward Hunter. And I felt fury at the way Hunter was treated at home, especially with his grandfather. I started crying when Hunter was because he couldn't take being strong anymore after losing so much (one death, especially, that completely and utterly shocked me!). Although this book didn't have quite the impact that the first two did, it didn't make me love it any less. Because Gabriel is my favorite brother, I don't think any of the books will come close to the love I had for Spark. But that's only because it was Gabriel's story, and I love that boy. Spirit was just as emotional, riveting, and addicting--it pulled me along like a roller coaster ride, fast and tumultuous, and thrilling all at the same time.