Published by Kensington on August 28th 2012
Gabriel Merrick plays with fire. Literally. Sometimes he can even control it. And sometimes he can't. Gabriel has always had his brothers to rely on, especially his twin, Nick. But when an arsonist starts wreaking havoc on their town, all the signs point to Gabriel. Only he's not doing it. And no one seems to believe him. Except a shy sophomore named Layne, a brainiac who dresses in turtlenecks and jeans and keeps him totally off balance. Because Layne has a few secrets of her own...
Reading Spark was like falling in love all over again, with the Elemental series story line and even more importantly, with the Merricks. You can clearly see where my priorities lie Although we got a decent introduction to Gabriel Merrick in book one, Spark takes us on a deeper journey into the inner workings and musings of our favorite pyro. Gabriel is hot-tempered and unpredictable, much like the flames that he has the ability to manipulate. He’s very “fists flying” first, “thinking” second. I was initially worried about Spark. After completely loving Storm book one, I feared that a complete character POV switch would leave me either bored or let down. That was not the case! I loved Spark SO MUCH. Perhaps even more than Storm!! (haven’t fully decided yet…) So my initial thought and the accumulation of the review to come is this: If you loved Storm than you sure as heck will LOVE Spark. And well, if you didn’t particularly love Storm (there’s something wrong with you! HAHA just kidding… maybe) there’s still a good chance you’ll love Spark regardless. Although set in the same world and around the same characters, the atmosphere and overall story is just completely different and intriguing due to Gabriel’s and newcomer, Laney’s POV. You really get a different look at the Merrick brothers – Nick, Gabriel, Michael and Chris along with the other characters introduced in Storm. Plus! There’s a whole sleuth of new characters to love and get invested in.
Out of all the Merrick brothers, I think Gabriel has suffered the most. There may have been various incidents caused by all four Merricks brothers that led to their parent’s tragic death, but in the end it was Gabriel’s uncontrollable emotions and rampant fire that killed them. Between guilt over his parent’s death, disfunction and overall disagreements with his brothers and consistent struggles in math class, Gabriel has more than enough fuel to feed the emotional fire in his mind. On a daily basis he struggles to keep his temper down and not unintentially cause his surrounding to go up in flames. His one solace has always been his twin brother, Nick affectionately known as “Nicky”. However, after a silly fight the two are at odds for a good chunk of the book leaving Gabriel feeling truly alone. Then enters Hunter. In Storm Hunter never truly made a great impression with the Merricks due to certain circumstances (that I won’t spoil). I really enjoyed the new interaction between Hunter and Gabriel along with their budding bromance. I never in my wildest dream thought that these two would so much as become friendly acquaintances, so you can imagine my surprise when they truly begin to hit it off. We’re talking regular xbox sessions, daily jogging and general hanging out.
Spark was a fabulous book. Not only did we get a continuation of the story we loved SO much in Storm we also got a better look at who Gabriel truly is. Although from the surface he seems ill-mannered, hot-tempered, and overall jerky (which he definitely is at times) there’s more to him. He’s filled with sorrow over his parent’s death and uncontrollable anxiety over not being able to fully control the fire that constantly beckons and calls out to him wanting him to “play”. He struggles with not only reigning in his anger but also finding a place in the world. He longs for purpose.
Then there’s Laney who we meet for the first time in Spark. Although her first appearance is quick, she sure as heck makes quite the impression. From the outside she look’s meek, quiet, and shy or in other terms “a nerd”. However, that is not the case. Although it takes her a while to truly stand up for herself, we find out that she’s incredibly smart and strong all along; just needing that extra boost of confidence. Although she doesn’t really affect much of the Elemental story line, she does affect Gabriel’s.
Once again I am satisfied yet still thirsting for the next Elemental book. If you have or plan on starting this series make sure to checkout the novellas as well. They’re just as good as the full-length novels!