Teens/ YA - Week of September. 29, 2014
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Sacrifice (Elemental 5) by Brigid Kemmerer
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?
From the moment Michael Merrick appeared on the scene of Storm, I loved him. Here is a guy who has devoted his life to keeping his family together. He’s in his early twenties and is responsible for his teenage brothers who are powerful elementals. They are hunted, they are abused, they are treated like second class citizens, but Michael Merrick somehow managed to keep them together, fed, clothed and alive. Michael is a hero, he’s a strong character and I wanted him to have his own book. It was one of the questions I asked Ms. Kemmerer when I interviewed her. Is Michael getting a book?! And the answer was yes and I was ecstatic.
But, now I am heartbroken, because I did not like this book. Maybe if this book was book 5 out of 6 and there was one more coming, I would have enjoyed it more. But, this is the end. The final installment in the Merrick brothers lives. And as a finale, it just does not work.
Since this series at it’s core is about the Merrick brothers, I expected to, you know, see the Merrick brothers. I expected to see Michael butt heads with Gabriel (who is my favorite), I expected Nick’s calming presence to be through out the story and Chris’ steady silence to be something for Michael to lean on, but no. We don’t get that. What we get is Michael running around trying to protect his brother’s with ignorance. Which is a natural instinct, but after 4 books and a bunch of novella’s where his brothers prove themselves to be strong, steady and smart, it seemed ridiculous that Michael would walk into traps and face bad guys by his lonesome.
The absence of his brothers make sense in some areas where the author beautifully orchestrates some heartbreaking separations that legitimately had me crying, because I knew how hard Michael has worked for his brothers. Other scenes had me rolling my eyes.
My biggest problem with Sacrifice is that it falls short of the series promise. For years and book after book, the Merrick’s have been hunted because their powers together would be unstoppable. Then we don’t really get that. This is a series and so I thought the final book would end with a fulfillment of that promise. The Merrick’s, along with Hunter, Becca, Quinn, Tyler, Layne, etc, as this unified front. The Merrick’s working together to bring down the Guides, to finally have safety and stability and no longer be hunted.
I have absolutely no idea who sends the Guides. The organization that runs that or the people who keep track of Elemental powers is never revealed. And, because they are not revealed, they are not defeated and so I am not sure that the Merrick’s are safe or if all will be well past Sacrifice. For all I know, the Merrick’s die the following day after “the end.”
Speaking of death (SPOILER)…. there is a major freaking death in this book. I wont say who, but I will say that no death has ever made me so angry as this one. It made no sense. It was there just to make me cry. I believe that Ms. Kemmerer wrote this character all those books ago just to be sacrificed. She made them evolve, change and suffer so much only to be put to like a lamb to slaughter. I didn’t even realize what happened. It’s written so convolutedly and ridiculously, I had to reread the section to be sure that I understood it. And, then rage. I just couldn’t believe that the author could be that disrespectful to her character and her readers.
At the end of the day this is one of the biggest disappointments of a final book I have ever come across. I hope that there is going to be some kind of novella, so that we can get some closure. Closure would be really really nice.
*ARC provided by Kensington Teen and Netgalley
Release Date: September. 30, 2014
"How odd I can have all this inside me and to you it’s just words. "
David Foster Wallace, The Pale King
Book Geek Quote #616
I just found my creative essay that I applied to NYU with. I was supposed to dramatize a day I’ll never forget or some such, topic. I wrote about my boyfriend dying. It’s weird, my writing style has not changed. I write exactly the same, if more mature and with better rhythm. I decided to write this conversationally, not sure why, but that’s how it is. I’m posting it here, just cuz. I haven’t changed a line of it, even though my hand itches to. It got me into NYU, so it can’t be that bad. :-)
It was a regular sort of day. In fact, it was the sort of day you would usually not even remember. Well, at least, I wouldn’t have remembered. It was an early November day and it was regular November weather. You know, when weather is not really sure what it’s doing. It’s not sure if it should be cold or warm, so it gives you sort of a warm, cold day. It was sort of cloudy, sort of not. I wouldn’t exactly have called it partly cloudy, but that’s probably what the meteorologist on channel 11 said that morning. Either way, I had on a sweater. I remember that clearly.
I was going through sort of a rough patch. Well, I shouldn’t say that. Rough patch is sort of the theme of my life. I’m not really sure that I can call my entire life a rough patch, its more like a black hole. Either way, last year about this time, I was going through hell.
I was a junior at a new high school and trying my hardest to fit in. Which is hard, when the kids in your grade have already gone through two years together and you’re just the outsider, “the new kid.” I was dealing with that, pretty good. I mean besides the crying in the hallway and telling the world that I hated my life. Besides all that, I was in my stride.
The only thing I remember really, really clearly about November.3, 2005, besides the weather, is what was on my mind. One word, Quincy. In fact, Quincy had been on my mind since I was about nine. I wont bore you with those details, but basically he was the one good thing I have always had. He wasn’t just some guy. It wasn’t just “puppy love.” No, he was my favorite person in the entire world. My best friend. The one person I could count on. And he, was in the hospital.
He had been in there for a few days and I didn’t have the chance to go and see him. I mean, when you’re only 16, its hard to explain to your mother that your boyfriend of six years was in the hospital with a stab wound. The boyfriend she had never heard about. The boyfriend you had never alluded to. I’m not proud to admit this, but I was going to lie to my mother, go to the hospital and see my secret boyfriend. He was such a secret that not even my good friends saw him. I think they probably thought I was making him up….but I digress.
Like I was saying. Quincy. I was going to see Quincy at the hospital. I took the two hour train ride from my school on 66 st, to 233rd street in the Bronx. I got off the number two train walked down the stairs towards my bus and froze. I remember the way my heart stopped for about two seconds, then began to beat at a pace that could never be deemed as safe. I remember the feeling of my mouth going dry and the sensation of terror spreading throughout my body.
I knew something was wrong from the minute I laid eyes on him. It wasn’t just because he was standing at a bus stop when he had a car. Or the way he was standing or the way his eyes scanned over faces as he was searching for someone. Searching for me. No, it wasn’t all that. It was the way things came together in my head. After all this was me. Naomi Davis. The black hole.
My first instinct was to run away. If he didn’t see me. Didn’t find me. He couldn’t tell me, what I already knew in my heart. He couldn’t confirm the dread that was rising inside me. Run away, I couldn’t do that, because I knew Joshua Sanchez. I knew him so well, I knew he would follow me. I knew he would find me and tell me what he needed to tell me.
Found this gem on my facebook.
"The love of books is a love which requires neither justification, apology, nor defense. "
Book Geek Quote #615
Say something, I’m giving up on you.