One misstep and they lose it all. For the last time.
Michael Merrick is used to 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 out for his family, and he's all that stands in the way.
His girlfriend, Hannah, gets that. She's got a kid of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could end her life without a moment's notice.
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. There will be blood on the ground tonight. . .
Praise for Brigid Kemmerer and The Elemental Series
"Magic, suspense, and enough twists to keep you reading until sunrise.!" --Award winning author Erica O'Rourke
"A refreshingly human paranormal romance. . . Read fast and keep that heart rate up." --Kirkus Reviews on Storm
About the Author
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The Elemental Series
By BRIGID KEMMERER
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2014 Brigid Kemmerer
All rights reserved.
Michael Merrick stepped off the porch, put his bare feet in the grass, and waited for a bullet.
He'd done this every night for a week.
The air held still, waiting with him, cloaking the yard in darkness. Breath eased from his lips, fogging in the early November chill. He wished he'd thought to grab a fleece pullover, but he'd barely paused to yank a T-shirt over his head.
Someone was out here. He knew it.
He'd known it for the last six nights.
Dried grass wove between his toes, but the earth carried no warning. Just the awareness that someone moved through the trees.
The first night he'd sensed something, terror had clung to his back, sending him bolting from room to room, slapping light switches and creating so much racket it was a miracle he hadn't woken the neighbors too. His brothers and Hunter had gathered on the porch, their breath shaking in the night air. They'd been ready to fight. They'd been ready for war against the Guides who hunted them.
It never came.
But every night since, Michael had felt ... something.
Or maybe not. Maybe this was 3 AM stress and paranoia setting up shop in his brain. His fear from the first night had morphed and taken new shape, turning into something more akin to fury.
He didn't know who was out here, but he wanted to kill them for threatening his family.
"A rookie sniper could take you out without a scope."
Michael jumped and swore and spun, pulling strength from the ground without thought. He choked on his breath. A sniper wouldn't even need a bullet; a heart attack would do the job.
Hunter Garrity stood on the deck, his feet also bare, though he'd had the good sense to grab a sweatshirt. Moonlight glinted off the piercings in his brow. Casper, his German shepherd, was alert by his side.
"Sorry," Hunter said softly. "Thought you heard me."
"What are you doing out here?" Michael snapped, keeping his voice as quiet as possible. "Go back to bed."
Hunter ignored that and joined him by the steps, putting his own feet in the grass. The dog stopped by his side and whined. "Someone's in the woods."
Of course Hunter would sense it, too. He was a Fifth, which gave him a connection to all the elements. He would have been a Guide, too, if he'd followed in his father's footsteps. Fate hadn't worked out that way.
Hunter glanced over when Michael didn't answer. "You should wake Nick. He could divert a bullet."
Michael studied the line of trees. He didn't want to wake everyone again. His brothers already spent each day riding a blade of tension; he didn't need to fill their nights with panic.
He hated this. It reminded him too much of the nights he'd spent awake after his parents died, trying to figure out how to keep his brothers safe. Then, he'd been worried about money and the other Elementals in town, the ones who'd sworn to leave his family alone. Now he was worried someone would shoot them all before he could get out a warning.
"Go inside, Hunter."
Hunter turned his attention back to the trees, probably giving each individual leaf a militaristic assessment. "It's only one guy. Maybe two. We could circle around—"
"At ease, soldier. I told you to go inside."
Hunter shut his mouth, but he didn't move. He was worried, though—worried and furious, the way Michael was.
He'd never admit it, of course. But Michael could feel his unease through the ground. Hunter hung close like a child who wouldn't venture too far from a parent in an unfamiliar situation. I can face this as long as I'm not alone.
Hunter hadn't been like that at first. He'd been reckless and impulsive and unsure where he fit in this world. When Hunter's grandfather had thrown him out of the house, Michael had just offered the kid a place to crash. He hadn't realized he'd be inheriting another brother to take care of, a sixteen-year-old who could handle himself like a Special Forces soldier but trusted people about as much as a beaten dog.
Hunter trusted him now, though. He'd never say as much, but the proof was in the way he stood here, following Michael's lead.
Michael's senses pricked. Whoever was in the woods had moved closer. He—they ?—was being stealthy, picking through the underbrush.
"Could it be Calla?" said Hunter, voice softer than thought.
"I doubt it." Calla Dean was the only person in town who wanted this war against the Guides. For years, Michael had assumed he and his brothers were the only full Elementals in town. They'd lived in fear that the Guides would discover their existence and send someone to kill them. They'd taken great care to hide their abilities and live in secrecy.
Then Calla Dean had come along.
Like Hunter, she was sixteen years old and a junior in high school. Unlike Hunter, she was a Fire Elemental with a psychotic streak. She didn't want to hide. She wanted the Guides to come—and she'd done everything she could to get their attention. Innocent people had already died because of Calla's obsession with this war.
She wouldn't be sneaking through the trees. She'd be lighting them all on fire.
Maybe he should wake Nick. His brother would be able to read the air and tell them what he sensed.
No. His brothers were safer inside the house, asleep and oblivious.
Maybe if he kept telling himself that, he'd eventually believe it.
"What do you feel?" he asked Hunter.
Silence for a moment. "Not danger. They're just ... there." Hunter glanced over again. "Is Hannah here?"
"Why would Hannah be here?"
Hunter gave him a look. "To spend the night?"
"No, she did not spend the night."
Hunter shrugged and looked at the woods again. "Gabriel thought you were sneaking her in since we hadn't seen her around lately."
Typical Gabriel. "For god's sake. She's been busy. Would you just go back in the house?"
Hunter stayed right where he was. "Whatever. She's your girlfriend."
Yeah, and Michael had been avoiding her since the first night he'd sensed someone in the woods. Hannah was smart and fierce and had the uncanny ability to look right through him.
He wasn't ready to share his secrets. Not yet. Not ever, if spilling the beans meant putting Hannah and her son in harm's way.
She wasn't stupid. She knew something was up.
She wasn't happy either, considering she hadn't responded to either of his texts earlier this evening.
A branch snapped, and Michael froze. Casper growled.
A shadow slid between the trees. Hunter shifted forward, his stance getting lower. He put a hand on Casper's collar.
"Take it easy," Michael said, his voice as low as he could make it. "Just wait."
Hunter didn't say anything, but metal clicked.
Michael looked down. A gun had appeared in Hunter's hands.
Michael caught his wrist, keeping the weapon pointed at the ground. "What the hell do you think 'take it easy' means?"
The shadow in the trees stopped short.
"If it's a Guide, they'll be armed," Hunter hissed. "Don't be stupid."
They stared at each other for a long moment. Michael wasn't sure he wanted Hunter to put the gun away. He could feel his heart in his throat. Hunter's breath was shaking, just a bit.
The woods hung still now, no sense of motion at all.
Then that shadow bolted. Casper barked and ran.
Hunter jerked his arm free and took off after them both.
Michael swore and followed.
This immediately felt wrong. He didn't want to leave his brothers vulnerable—and that's what sleep felt like now. Vulnerability.
Why the hell hadn't he woken them up?
"Stop!" he yelled, hoping his brothers would somehow hear him. "Hunter, damn it, stop!"
Then he shut his mouth. He shouldn't yell—not unless he wanted to wake the whole street. This war made everyone in the neighborhood a liability. A risk. A threat. The last thing he needed was some middle-aged dad stumbling into the line of fire in his boxer shorts.
Besides which, he was terrified Hunter was going to pull that trigger and shoot some moron hiding a few joints in his pocket.
But Hunter hadn't fired, and Michael could see him slipping between the trees about twenty feet ahead. He hardly needed the visual: at this distance the earth could feed their path to him. They'd never lose him on foot. The underbrush helped, too. Rocks and branches shifted out of the way of his bare feet, letting him gain ground.
The earth couldn't offer the nuances of emotion, but it knew enough to recognize a panicked run. Whoever they were chasing was terrified of getting caught.
Not a Guide, then.
Hunter's breath echoed over the crunch of his feet through underbrush. Their quarry was quick—he'd gained ground—but this kind of desperate running would burn him out fast.
"Hunter! I said stop." Michael was fast. He could almost grab the back of Hunter's sweatshirt now, but he didn't. "He didn't attack us. We're chasing him."
That made Hunter draw up short, sliding to a stop in the dirt, breathing hard. "Casper! Hier!" The dog barked again, somewhere in the distance, but he returned to his master's side.
Hunter pushed hair off his face and swore. The gun was still in his hand, pointed at the ground. "You don't know this isn't Calla."
True, he didn't know this wasn't Calla. She was violent and unpredictable and refused to discuss anything that had to do with avoiding a war. Michael hadn't heard from her since last week, since he'd told her his priority was to protect his family—not to start a war with the Guides.
Regardless, he wasn't a big fan of shooting blindly into the woods. "What if this has nothing to do with us, and you shoot some unarmed kid?"
Hunter slid the gun into his waistband at the small of his back. He was scowling. "I'm not reckless."
Branches snapped in the distance. Michael felt every step as the runner drew farther away.
"See?" he said, catching his breath. "A Guide would know we could follow him."
Then they heard a splash, and Michael lost any sense of their target.
Hunter took off again. "Why would some unarmed kid jump into the creek in November?" he called.
Michael ran after him. "Maybe he fell."
But he'd felt the instant the runner's feet left the earth. Running to the water had been deliberate. Whoever this was had known Michael could follow him on land.
Maybe he didn't know Hunter would be able to follow him in the water.
Stoney Creek wasn't really a creek at all. It stretched half a mile across, the towns on either side connected by a drawbridge. Farther south, there was a stretch of beach, but here, at the edge of their neighborhood, the woods ended at a sheer drop into water. By the time they reached the bank, Hunter had lost his sweatshirt. He didn't even pause: he leapt into the quickly moving current, jeans and all. Michael dove in beside him.
The sudden cold caught him in a vise grip. For an instant, he couldn't think. He couldn't breathe.
But then his body kicked into action, sending his heart pounding with adrenaline. Forget Nick. Michael should have woken Chris. His youngest brother wouldn't need to chase this guy. Chris could probably convince the current to drag him back to shore.
Too late now. Icy water attacked with the sting of a thousand needles, protesting his presence. He fought to make his arms drive through the water, but the current churned thick with power, fighting his every stroke. Michael kicked and the water dragged him under. Those pinpricks of cold turned to full-size nails hammered into his skin.
Maybe jumping into the creek wasn't about avoiding anyone's abilities at all. Maybe this guy was a frigging Water Elemental.
Brackish water fought its way into Michael's mouth. He tried to force it out, but the current was a living thing, prying open his lips, burning into his nostrils. His lungs begged for air and water surged down his throat. Instinct forced him to inhale, allowing more water to knife its way into his chest. He tried to cough but inhaled more liquid.
The water dragged at his body, pulling him deeper. The pressure on his chest increased. Bitterness clawed at the back of his tongue, more water trying to force its way into his lungs. His legs couldn't kick. He'd been so worried about a bullet, and now he was drowning.
No, not drowning. Sleeping. He didn't need to fight anymore. He could sleep, right here.
He'd never warned his brothers. They'd be asleep in their beds, easy victims.
His body touched the bottom, and the sand whispered to him, scraping his skin, offering power. Michael couldn't make sense of it. He was too tired.
Something caught hold of his arm. Should he fight?
That struck him as funny, in a very distant way. He couldn't even move.
Or was this Hunter? Was this a rescue? Maybe they'd be dragged to shore and then shot.
Maybe he imagined the grip on his arm. Maybe the current had him, and he'd float to the bay. Maybe he'd finally see the ocean.
He seemed to float forever.
His face broke the surface, but his lungs didn't try to inhale.
November air slapped his cheeks, but he didn't care. A moment later, his back hit the sand. Then his head did.
Suddenly everything hurt. His lungs burned with cold. He wanted to fight but nothing would work. He couldn't see stars or sky or anything.
Maybe he wasn't really out of the water. Maybe this was true death.
Fear ripped through him, offering some clarity. He could feel everything. The cold bit down to his bones. His muscles could only offer aching pain. He was definitely on shore—the sand beneath his body pulsed with power. Michael's fingers moved against his will, digging into the sand, feeling each grain drive under his fingernails.
Something heavy hit his chest. And again, this time using force to lift his shoulders and slam him back into the earth.
Then a third time. Michael jerked and coughed, and water poured out of his mouth. He choked and tried to breathe. More water. More coughing. His eyes still wouldn't focus.
And then they did.
Chris crouched over him, barely recognizable in the darkness with water dripping through his hair and off his cheeks. His eyes were furious instead of worried. He punched Michael in the chest again, but this time it had nothing to do with revival.
"You idiot, I could have killed you."
"Chris—what—" Michael couldn't get his voice to work.
"Right here," his voice called from a short distance away, just as rough and broken as Michael's. Fabric shifted through sand as he tried to stand. He must have found his footing, because bare feet slapped against the beach. Michael struggled to sit up.
Chris got out of his way, moving to sit closer to the water. He swiped sandy hands against his jeans and turned his glare on Hunter. "I guess you survived."
"Yeah," Hunter rasped. He dropped to his knees beside Chris, and Michael thought he was going to collapse there in the sand.
But he didn't. Hunter raised his hand and put the barrel of his gun in Chris's face. "I survived. So you'd better start talking."CHAPTER 2
Michael couldn't wrap his head around this. His youngest brother had been in the woods? Had been running? They'd been standing behind the porch sensing Chris?
What do you feel?
It hadn't been Chris every night. Michael was sure of it.
No, he couldn't be sure at all. It hadn't been Chris the first night, but Michael didn't go around checking beds every night. His brothers were sixteen and seventeen years old. They knew better than to sneak out of the house, especially now.
Yet he was staring down at his little brother while someone else held him at gunpoint.
"Hunter," Michael said slowly. "Put the gun away."
"Not until he gives us a good answer." Hunter cocked the gun.
Chris threw himself at Hunter, driving the other boy to the ground, slamming his wrist into the wet sand. Something heavy skittered along the beach until Michael lost track of the gun in the darkness. Hunter swore and tried to swing a fist, but the trip underwater must have taken something out of him, too. Chris was on top and had leverage—not to mention power. Water crawled up the sand to flow around them, then retreated.
Casper barked and whined, prancing in the surf, waiting for a command.
Chris braced an arm against Hunter's neck and leaned in. His voice was low and lethal. "Don't you ever put a gun in my face again."
Excerpted from Sacrifice by BRIGID KEMMERER. Copyright © 2014 Brigid Kemmerer. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.5 I wanted to read Sacrifice because I have loved getting to know the Merrick brothers in this series. They all have their own personalities and stories as well as girls that they are in love with. But as brothers there is always the element of family and the fact that Michael helped hold them together as the oldest after their parent passed. The paranormal magic in this one is also neat, learning about each brother and Hunter's powers and how they work together. There has always been someone to oppose them though, which has added plenty of tension and action to the stories. It was nice getting back to the world and into the head of Michael. He shoulders such a load because he has taken over guardianship of his brothers, and he wants to be a good role model for them and be there for them. In this book his livelihood, his home and sense of security in a lot of ways is ripped from him. He becomes a suspect in fires and other disasters that center around him, and I feel so much for him. He has to keep their powers a secret, and there are lots of things pointing at him as a possibility because of his and his brother's elemental powers. We also get the point of view of Hannah, Mike's girlfriend. She has her son, and she's a fire fighter. Her dad is the marshal, so there is plenty of pressure on her in a male dominated work environment and such shoes to fill. Then as Michael is under investigation she believes to much in his innocence but has to admit that the obvious signs are pointing to his involvement. I liked her strength and loyalty as well as her responsibility. he has a son and she tries so hard to be a good mom to him even though she had him earlier in life than most. While I liked Michael and how much he is willing to do to protect his brothers and to be there for everyone. He is fiercely loyal and has so much that should be so drool worthy, this wasn't my favorite of the Merrick books. I did like his connection with Hunter and how we get to learn more about him. There is also a surprise ally that was neat to get his perspective and how much he stepped up. I totally wasn't prepared for it to end where it did, because my kindle told me there was still a good 30% left, but it is the novellas included. So, yes, I did like where this one stopped and how things were resolved for now, I just was surprised and geared up for more. Bottom Line: Solid book moving the action and plot along.
Kemmerer’s Elemental series has been my guilty pleasure for a few years now. And with this novel, Kemmerer has technically closed the story with this final chapter of the Merrick brothers, giving readers Michael’s story as it all comes to a head. And yet… I’m not certain it’s really over. Let me explain. Kemmerer has always woven a tale that pulls readers in from the get go. Sacrifice is no different. By this point in the series, the Merrick brothers and their friends are like a part of my family. I know them so well because Kemmerer really knows how to create realistic, beautiful characters, and Sacrifice is no different on this end. The brothers, who I’ve come to love, are again faced with hardship–perhaps the worst yet, and it tore my heart in two as I read. The emotions are real, and I just adored everything about it. Everything, except the ending. The ending, while a resolution that works, comes on quite fast, leaving readers with questions. Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting the antagonist to be who it was, and I liked how Kemmerer threw me for a loop with the big reveal, but I didn’t understand all the aspects that went in to it. I reread it twice, but in all honestly, the ending was too neat; everything wrapped up much too quickly once all is said and done. And I still have questions. I have questions about the bad guy, about newcomer Irish, Hunter’s grandparents, the guides reactions to it all, and what’s going to happen next for the Merricks. Yes, a resolution is there, and I loved it, even though it happened a touch too fast for me and not everyone gets out unscathed, but even so, the potential for more chaos is there, too, and I’m waiting for more–for the other shoe to drop. This is a wonderful novel, and I truly enjoyed it… but I need a spinoff series… Of course, Kemmerer did leave me stunned with one aspect that I knew was coming from the title, SACRIFICE, but still didn’t expect. I spent the next few pages hoping it’d be undone, but alas, it’s not. You might want some tissues. I think I was stunned enough that I didn’t even blink. No tears for me, it just… can’t be. Right? And it happens so fast that if you do blink, you’ll miss it. I really have no words. Except that you must read it. If this is really the end, then you just have to read it, but I’m still waiting. For more. I need more. The Merricks are a part of me now, and… I just need more. Four stars.
Action filled book with plot twists that will blow your mind!
OMG, I do not no where to begin with this book! Of course besides that I love it! I loved that this one focused more on Michael (the eldest). I've been wanting to read more on him since his novella Elemental and his briefness in the other books. This book had me glued and I hated it every time I had to put it down. This one is quite more violent compared to the other books also. I'm so invested in these boys and this book dropped my heart in so many places. So many bad things happened and for a little bit there was some uncertainties. There was unquestionably an extremely sad moment for me and I was at work trying to hold back the tears. I did have the case of sniffles though. I'm still in denial that this is it. This didn't feel like it was the last book. Don't know if it's a good or bad thing. For an end of a series, I would like more closure (this would be my bad thing). The good would be at least there is an opportunity for a possibility of more books
I never wanted to put the book down ,that is saying alot because i never fall in love with a book like ever
I have really enjoyed this series. The character development makes the fairly redundant plot less of an issue. I recommend it. The writing itself is pretty good, and I am sad that I have read them all. I was disappointed, though, to have paid for all of the novellas, and then to have them included here.
Sacrifice was defiantly not what I was expecting for the final book in the Elemental series. The whole series changed a lot from the first book and while I liked some changes in the series others I was not overly fond of. Michael was a pretty awesome character and I loved how he kept trying to do the right thing no matter what. His behavior was totally believable and pulled at my emotions. Everything about him was brilliant but everyone else was less than stellar. Hannah drove me crazy. I dreaded reading the parts from her point of view and just wanted them to end. I found her to be a whinny child in an adults body who threw a fit because she felt people treated her like a child which is how she acted a lot of the time. The overall plot seemed well thought out but I would have liked a chance to know the guides a bit more. It made it hard for the reader to really feel anything but malice towards them. Maybe that was the goal of Kemmerer though. I did not like the end of the series I felt it was too abrupt and not thought out enough. An epilogue set a year in the future would have been nice.
Michael Merrick. My favorite of the brothers, and the one who's story I wanted most. Michael has taken care of his little brothers since their parents' deaths. He has basically given up his dreams to keep his family together, and the fight against people who think he's incompetent is never-ending. Michael is close to breaking from all the pressure. This one was a little more sad, as one thing after another comes against Michael and the Merricks. As if it isn't enough that Guides are after them to kill them, their house has been destroyed, DHS is after them, and Hannah's father as named Michael as a prime bombing suspect. I mean, that would be a lot for any 23-year-old. Like Nick in Secret, Michael starts to learn that he doesn't need to hold everything together by himself. His brothers are growing up, and can handle themselves. I liked how the brothers came together to protect each other and themselves. Family has always been my favorite part of this series, and I'm so glad to see it showcased. I didn't really like Hannah's parts. This has been the only one with any sort of love triangle, but Hannah seemed really immature for someone who was so much older than any of the other characters. It is something she realizes, and begins to change, but I could care less about her. (Is that mean? Oops.) Although this one is filled with the same suspense and action as all the others, actually probably even more action, I was not satisfied with the ending. After 4 books and 3 novellas of build-up, it finished abruptly and flatly. I felt nothing was really settled or finished. While I don't need everything to be spelled out or set in stone, I feel like the ending didn't really deal with anything. Nothing was concluded. Except for the ending, I enjoyed this story as it was everything I've come to expect from the Merricks.
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley.) This was an interesting end to the series, and it was good to see things from Michael’s point of view. Michael was stressed in this book. He was constantly on edge, constantly feeling like he was being hunted, and fighting a losing battle to keep his brother’s safe. Things just seemed to go from bad to worse, and it seemed like the odds were really stacked against him. I felt really sorry for him with everything he had to go through, especially when he felt like he had no support at all. The storyline in this was pretty good, and there was certainly an undercurrent of danger running through it. There seemed to be quite a few twists thrown in, and a couple of unexpected deaths, which were pretty shocking! Things just seemed to get worse and worse for Michael and his brothers, and things certainly looked worse before they looked better. These guys seemed to lose everything as the story progressed, and the story really was traumatic for the Merricks! There wasn’t really much romance in this one, which was a little disappointing, but at the same time I feel a bit like the romance wasn’t really necessary. I think a lot of romantic interludes would have detracted from the danger in the story, which wouldn’t have been good. The ending to this wasn’t what I expected, but it was a good ending, and I really hope that everything will be good from the Merrick’s from now on! I did feel a little let down by how open the ending was, but maybe the author will revisit the Merrick’s in the future? Who knows! Overall; good end to the series, 7 out of 10.
My favorite Elemental book yet. Extremely refreshing to read a more adult side of the story, compared to all of the teenage stuff. I really hope this is not th end of The Merrick's story. The sacrifice in this story hurt my heart...(no spoilers from me!) I wish more positive things could have happened for the story's martyr, but I fully understand the meaning of the martyr's decision.
Sacrifice is the final book in the Elemental series. This is the eldest brother Merrick's story, with both his and his girl friend Hannah's point of view. The war has been brewing but Merrick has kept his girl friend Hannah in the dark, which causes all kinds of trouble....including another man, Irish, and possible enemy vying for Hannah's affections. The story is intense and doesn't let up that pace throughout. Each time something else befalls the brothers and just when you don't think they can take anymore, something more happens. I have to admit, I jumped into this series totally ignorant of any of the back list and still enjoyed it immensely. I didn't feel lost or like I was playing catch up. Kemmerer made the transition into this Elemental world effortless. The story does come to a head but left you with the feeling like there is much more to come. I loved the energetic storytelling but I had some issues with Merrick's thought processes, making it hard to connect to his character. Ok, I wanted to yell "dump arse" quite a few times. I do wish I started this series from the beginning so I will be adding the rest of this series to my to be read shelf.
Hopefully, this isn’t the end. Michael Merrick has to grow up too fast . The loss of his parents, the financial responsibility, the danger – all elements placing his brothers on shaky ground compounded by the need to hide from the organization threatening to exterminate the Merrick brothers. Pure Elementals are not allowed to live past their teens, when their powers manifest. Each Merrick brother possesses power over earth, air, fire, and water, making them even more of a threat to the Elemental community. Michael has sacrificed so much. How much more will the Merrick brothers lose until this threat ends and what will their family be like when this battle is fought? “Sacrifice” concludes the Elemental series, but I’m fervently hoping this isn’t truly over. No! No! No! This story has a heart but this can’t be the way the Merrick’s story concludes. There needs to be more. Please! Michael’s suffering is acute. We finally feel his emotions, see the world through his eyes. He’s so alone and afraid. He tries so hard to be the guardian they need, which conflicts with the brother they want. It was my hope this family would rally together for an ultimate battle and leave me giddily punching my fist in the air in triumph, which is how most of the books left me feeling. Instead this ending is …something I didn’t expect. While it’s a hopeful conclusion, it’s also somber. Please don’t let this be the end. There was something missing. The heroine’s point-of-view didn’t enrich this story has in the other Elemental books. Michael’s love interest felt like a token female point-of-view, when I really wanted Michael’s POV and the happenings with the brothers, who are mostly missing throughout this book. I wish this book was just a novella before Merrick brothers’ final story. The other books, especially Nick’s, were so good! This is too worthy a series to end on this note, though hopeful that it is. ARC compliments of Kensington via Netgalley
3.5 stars-too many open ended plot point for the final book in the series: 3.5 stars--SACRIFICE is the fifth full length and final ? novel in Brigid Kemmerer’s contemporary, young adult Elemental paranormal series focusing on the four Merrick brothers. Although each of the storylines includes all four brothers and an ensemble cast of characters ( including Sacrifice), SACRIFICE focuses on the eldest brother and earth elemental twenty three year old Michael Merrick. In the world of the supernatural Elementals-water, fire, earth and air-there is also a group known as the Guides. As with any paranormal storyline, the Guides are the requisite evil whose mission is to rid the world of all Elementals. The Merrick family has been targeted for destruction but the who and how is a constant mystery. As Michael struggles to keep his family together (following the murder of their parents five years earlier) he is fighting a losing battle when the police and the fire department suspect one or all of the Merricks in a series of fires, explosions and deaths. The Department of Family Services has been notified and it is time for the Merrick brothers to find another home. The romance aspect of the storyline is limited because the focus finds Michael striving to keep control of his element while all around him death and destruction thrive. As the body count increases, he becomes the number one suspect when the investigators find Michael at every crime scene. Michael has been set up but who is the one behind all of the threats. The writing is simple. The storyline has some graphic violence and numerous deaths including someone close to the Merrick family. No one is safe when the Guides come hunting for the Elementals. The world building continues with the familiarity of the Elemental power and the continuous destruction by the Guides. Even those connected to the Merrick family will find themselves at a disadvantage and a target for destruction. SACRIFICE is the supposedly the final instalment in Brigid Kemmerer’s young adult, ELEMENTAL series. It does not end on a happily ever after but a happily ever after –for now. There is no resolution to the family situation and Michael’s relationship with Hannah points in another direction now that the truth has finally been revealed. Brigid does not wrap up the series with a pretty little bow but with a ‘sh*t happens and everyone must move on’ kind of attitude. I would hope that there will be a few more novellas to wrap up the storyline-perhaps an epilogue that looks to the future and what has happened to the Merrick brothers.
This is the final book of The Elemental Series and I'm sorry to see it end. My son and I have read these books together and, throughout this YA paranormal series, I've been so impressed with the sensitive and intelligent way the author has dealt with issues such as the death of parents, emotional and physical abuse, homelessness, a teen struggling with his sexuality, and a young woman realizing her self-worth - all very relevant topics teens are dealing with today. These books stress the importance of friends and family, both the family you're born into and the family you make. From the earlier books, I knew that at the age of 18, Michael took on a huge responsibility in becoming guardian for his three younger brothers in order to keep his family together and, although I would have liked to see more of Chris, Gabriel, and Nicholas in this book, this was Michael's story. Michael has always shown strength, but being in his head was very stressful - he has the responsibility of caring for three teenage boys, running the family business, maintaining a relationship with his girlfriend, and even more importantly - keeping all of them alive. He's under an incredible amount of pressure and in this book, we see his life start to fall apart. Hannah, Michael's girlfriend, doesn't make his life much easier, and I was disappointed in her character. I would have expected more maturity from someone with her life experience. On the other hand, I also would have expected Michael to have included her in the circle of trust regarding the family secrets much earlier. Sacrifice was full of action and twists and a couple of times I thought I knew who the antagonist was, but it was a complete surprise. The ending seemed a little abrupt and left some things unfinished, but I'm hopeful the author may return to these characters in the future. This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer Book Five of the Elemental series Publisher: KTeen Publication Date: September 30, 2014 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC from NetGalley Summary (from Goodreads): Michael Merrick is used to 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 out for his family, and he’s all that stands in the way. His girlfriend, Hannah, gets that. She’s got a kid of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could end her life without a moment’s notice. 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. There will be blood on the ground tonight… What I Liked: In this conclusion novel, blood will be shed. Patience will be tested. Sacrifices will be made. Michael Merrick has always been the glue of the family, the parent to his three young brothers... though he's barely an adult himself. With three brothers and a fourth teen - a Fifth (Hunter), things aren't a cakewalk for Michael. Throw in Guides and relationship problems and financial problems... well, let's just say that you always save the best for last. It makes sense for things to start with Michael (in Elemental), and end with Michael. First thing to note: this book isn't 432 pages. Well, it is, but about 150 of those pages are from the novellas (Elemental, Fearless, and Breathless). It's okay, breathe, this book isn't one of those monster conclusion novels that are twice the length of one of the other books in the series. The action never seems to stop in this book. As is the case in all five books and three novellas. Michael and his brothers never had an easy life - never will - and you can tell. The Guides hunt them ruthlessly, and couldn't care less who is in the line of fire. When Michael's brothers, his girlfriend, and his girlfriend's child are threatened but someone, Michael knows that it's time to take matters into his and his friends' hands, and end things. It's hard for Michael to accept help, and in this book, he learns the hard way that he needs to do it. He needs to stop treating his brothers like they're helpless. He needs to learn that help offered isn't a threat or dangerous. He needs to rely on his girlfriend, trust his girlfriend, and stop blaming himself. Like in each book, I love the character development in the protagonist. Both protagonists. Hannah isn't such an easy person as well. Knocked up at seventeen, she knows the difficult life. She's a mother, daughter, girlfriend, student, firefighter, soon-to-be paramedic. Her father, the fire marshal, has been cold and distant with her - but so has she with him. I love how their relationship in particular progresses. It's not just about Michael and Hannah, or Michael and his brothers. It's not just about the Elementals versus the Guides. There are a lot of relationships in this book, which adds a lot of depth to a paranormal series like this one. I love Kemmerer's writing. She really nailed the teenager thing in the first four books, and she did a splendid job of writing the perspectives of two "older" young adults. Like the other books, this book is written in alternating third person - which I love. The romance is pretty sparse in this book, honestly. Fine by me. I didn't exactly click with Hannah (though I understood her and liked her character's role), and Michael is a private guy. It just makes sense, with the nature of their relationship and their lives. To be honest, I found the ending a little anticlimactic (especially after all the action in books one through four, and the majority of this book). However, I can kind of get past it, because now the series is over, and there is nothing to do about neither this book's ending nor the series's ending. What I Did Not Like: Like I mentioned before, I didn't click with Hannah. I think she's irrational, impulsive, and selfish. Selfish in that she expects everyone to explain things to her because gee the world does revolve around her, eh? Because nothing is bigger or more important than her. Her knowing and protecting herself is EVERYTHING. Okay, b****. Whatever. I don't like her very much. But that's okay. I like Michael a lot. Also, in terms of the big ending... it was a bit of a letdown. I expected an epic showdown with the Guides. I expected repercussions and rules set for the future and some sort of Geneva Accord/Conventions or something. But the ending... it was anticlimactic. A good ending for a SINGLE novel, or a sequel, but not a conclusion novel to a series. Would I Recommend It: Despite a few things I didn't like about this book, I would still recommend this book, and the entire series, in general. Book one is, and always will be, my favorite. I've re-read that one so many times now... but not the other four. Book one <3 Rating: 3.5 stars -> rounded up to four stars. An adequate conclusion to a great series! I wanted more, but won't get more, so that will have to do. Awesome debut series, Brigid!