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Reaction to... Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer

As most of you know very well—and for those of you that don’t, you’ll probably agree with me anyway—I don’t really like the US covers of the Elemental series. I feel like since the Aussies get SUCH sexy men on their covers, it’s only fair, just, and wise to do the same for us. And so when you compare the two sets of covers side by side, it’s really NO CONTEST.

SUMMARY: Hunter Garrity just wants to be left alone. He has learned the hard way that his unusual abilities come at a price. And he can't seem to afford any allies.

He's up to his neck in hostiles. His grandfather, spoiling for a fight. The Merrick brothers, who think he ratted them out. Calla, the scheming psycho who wants to use him as bait.

Then there's Kate Sullivan, the new girl at school. She's not hostile. She's bold. Funny. Hot. But she's got an agenda, too.

With supposedly secret powers rippling to the surface everywhere around him, Hunter knows something ugly is about to go down - which means he'll have to find someone he can trust.

When I heard Brigid was flipping Nick Merrick’s story to include Hunter’s first, I was like WHAT THE WHAT? Why would you DO THIS THING? I couldn’t fathom—as much as I enjoy Hunter’s character—anticipating a story about a non-Merrick member more than a sexyandamazing flesh ‘n blood Merrick. Heck, I even said as much when I talked a little about my thoughts on BREATHLESS, a devious little teaser as to what we can look forward to in Nick’s bound-to-be-amazebeans story! And then… you know what happened.

I read the hell out of this damn book, and now I TAKE IT ALL BACK.

The bummer about this installment taking so long to GET HERE is that I kind of forgot what Hunter Garrity—our manly protagonist in SPIRIT—did to piss everybody and their grandfather (including his) off. OBVS, as the story goes on, a refresher is given, but I really wish I wasn’t left in utter suspense while I desperately wracked my brain for stuff I already knew. Once it’s up here, it stays there, but the trouble is, after a while, it gets to be like walking through a desert in search of a well. But, as I went on in the book, I came to realize something vital (and this is part of why this review won’t run the risk of spoilers): IT DOESN’T MATTER. I mean, it does, when you have a full-grown hot-tempered Fire elemental shoving soup up your shirt, but this story isn’t really centered around ALL THAT. More, this is a book very much grounded in emotional development of a really sad character—which I’d never have thought to label him as in the first place. AND THAT IS WHAT MAKES IT AWESOME.

In the literal sense, in terms of background and setting we stay in familiar territory, except now we’re in another person’s head who lives in a different part of town. Emotionally and mentally though? We traverse the dark spaces in Hunter’s mind and get caught up in the strenuous tug-of-war on the battlefield located right in his heart. Poor kid.

But because this is Hunter’s book, we FINALLY get so many answers to questions that have been pecking at our craniums. Hunter’s been this giant enigma throughout the series, and neither I nor the Merrick brothers could ever count on really knowing him, his motives, his past, and how that all was set up to play into the future of the Merrick’s and whether or not they’ll survive this assault on their lives, their family (and its extensions), and their home. NOW WE ALL CAN. So many things have eased up, clouds have disappeared and what I found behind them is enough to make me positively full of gleeful gibberish over where I anticipate this story will go.

But onto the part of this story I really want to talk about, as 1. it’s the most exceptional aspect and 2. it’s always my favorite aspect to discuss in any book scenario. Hunter Garrity is one of those characters I always have a soft spot for, and what’s so surprising is that I didn’t expect him to fall into this category. There are those characters who seem strong and tough and confident, outwardly, but internally they’re just a disaster area with caution signs posted everywhere, a little reminiscent of perhaps a crime scene. These characters are what I like to think of as Lonely Souls. They carry the weight of the world (or, in some cases, worlds) on their shoulders, but what they don’t realize and usually come to do so is that it’s of their own choosing. A lot of the times they aren’t to blame for doing things the way they have been, because of ALL they’ve experienced and ALL that they feel is at risk if they lose control.

Hunter Garrity is no exception. He stores everything inside, not realizing that he’s desperately in need of another emotional storage rental if he’s going to keep on bottling his reactions up. And I think his battered soul would agree with me when I say, the price is skyrocketing. Hunter is at his breaking point. He believes himself alone, and at this point in his life, that’s truth. Partly because there’s no one around that listens anymore and isn't batshizz CRAY and partly because he’s pushed everyone away who might’ve and still would if given the chance. That doesn’t change the fact that his imminent emotional collapse is HEART-BREAKING. Like, It will do some damage to your soul, if you’re not careful.

Added to that, Hunter is in the unfortunate position of feeling as though he has sides to choose from; he’s convinced himself he hasn’t already made that choice. What is lucky is that there are people in his life who care for him enough to be patient while he works through everything, piling still more love in my soul for the Merrick bros. And as this process stretches—full of mistakes and wrenching moments of doubt—I came to love Hunter.

Gabriel laughed low, under his breath, but not like it was really funny. He turned and walked back to Hunter. "No, jackass. I blame you. Where'd you learn how to be a friend anyway?"
Hunter stared at him. "What does that mean?"
"It means you need to pick a fucking side."

Which is, ultimately, what SPIRIT did for me. It gave me the chance to love a character I wouldn’t have otherwise, because I was so blindsided by the fearsome Merrick foursome, proving what an incredible job Kemmerer has done with this installment!

  1. Every Time Hunter Nearly Breaks
  2. Gabriel Forces Hunter to Get a Clue
  3. Hunter Finally Lets Go On His Mother's Shoulder
  4. Kate and Hunter’s Wit-a-thon via Text Message O__O
  5. Michael Gets Sexyier and Parental-like
"I'd like to kiss you," said Hunter softly. "But I'd really like to try it without any lies between us."
For some reason, that made her eyes burn, and she worried that tears had found their way into her eyes.
His thumb stroked along her cheek, terrible confirmation.
"I don't remember how to do that," she whispered.
A smile found his lips. "How to kiss?"
She squished her eyes shut and shook her head quickly. "How to be true."

THE ENDING. Did I not claim that that is a terrible thing to do in a review, in my last post? Do I have many of my questions answered? Oh, si. Does that mean I am satisfied enough not to wonder anymore about this series? Oh, you sweet naïve fools. Don’t ever convince yourselves of that as a possible outcome after reading this series. The fact that my mind has been looping “I WANTS IT NOW. GIMME THE SIEGE OR PERISH.” the last hour I’ve been writing this review purely because of anticipation as opposed to desperation for answers SAYS ALL THE NECESSARY THINGS, okay?

If you have any doubts about starting this series, let me help squash them: I have a keyboard on my right and a club on my left, which would you prefer?

Paperback / 301 pgs / May 28th 2013 / Kensington Teen / Goodreads / $9.95

I received a copy from Kensington Teen via Netgalley as part of a blog tour hosted by The Midnight Garden.


Princess Ash said...

EVERYONE is talking about this book! I guess cause it's around release time and the tour's on, huh? Anyway, I have the first book on my WL and hopefully one my massive TBR will shrink a tad (unlikely) and I can actually start this series. I have to say, everyone is making me excited about it!

Princess Ash said...

While this wasn't my fave of the series, I definitely enjoyed it. It was quite serious and much more sad than I anticipated... but I kind of love that. Brigid definitely knows how to always surprise her readers with each new narrator she presents for us. ALSO, I'm glad I'm not the only one who was totally lost at the beginning of this book. That's why I put off reading it until right before my tour review was scheduled, because I started it once and was like "gah, I can't remember anything!"... I did eventually clue in, but having it spelled out more would've been nice.