STORM: Elemental Series, Book One, by Brigid Kemmerer

I can think of four good reasons to read this book: earth, wind, fire and water, channeled by Michael, Nick, Gabriel and Chris, the four Merrick brothrs. Reason Number Five: Hunter, the new kid in town, who wears twine bracelets strung with things like amethyst, quartz, and citrine, and he knows what each gemstone represents (courage, confidence, that sort of thing). The guys in this novel have so much friction, force and sex appeal, who needs sparkling vampires and werewolves?
We do need a likable heroine, and Becca falls short there. I realize it’s far too commonplace for teenage girls to be snotty, snarky, rude and disrespectful, not just to their parents, but even their closest friends. Judge first, don’t cut anyone any slack, leap to conclusions, and for heaven’s sake, don’t clear up misunderstandings with something so outmoded as honesty. One thing Twilight had going for it was Bella’s general niceness. She spoke respectfully to her dad, even if she did sneak out sometimes.
Too many YA novels show high school teens lying to parents about going to some party where their peers get drunk, stoned, beaten up, almost (or actually) raped, or nearly killed.
Aside from my long list of pet peeves, this novel kept me turning pages. I liked Hunter from the start, even if he’s more than a little sketchy. Becca is understandably torn between her Hunter and Chris, but avid readers who know the tropes and rules can see exactly which guy is most trustworthy. And readers who’ve checked out other books in the series can tell by the covers and titles who gets the girl (or should). If readers start with Book One of the series, Storm, we already know the ending of the novella that’s a prequel. We also know that sometimes, the guy doesn’t want the girl. He might want a guy. But readers of Book One needn’t concern themselves with that.
Okay, for those who don’t know what this book is about…
Synopsis (from Goodreads):

znd earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

The storm is coming…

The first chapter is riveting, and the four brothers bring a lot of chemistry, humor and character to the story. Becca is annoying more often than she’s cool and inspiring. Her attitude might sell well with today’s young adult readers, but for a middle aged mother of three, it’s grating.
One sensitive subject this novel addresses is rape, and whether or not it really is rape if the girl initially thought she wanted it. Factor in some alcohol, ratchet up the number of guys involved at this party, and it not only becomes a question of consensual sex but a case of gang rape. This issue is so timely and relevant, all college freshmen are required to read websites and “pass a class” online to show they’re aware of the dangers. Still: without delivering plot spoilers, I have to say I’m disappointed in how the subject was handled in this novel.
Would I read other books in the series? Probably. This young author shows a lot of storytelling talent and imagination. I quibble with the characterizations (snotty dialogue from heroine) and the plot holes, but really, science fiction and fantasy all too often rely on the lame premise, the reader’s willing suspension of disbelief, and tolerance for plot holes. I can forgive the plot holes, The rudeness of the heroine, not so much.

About carolkean

novelist, reviewer, editor, book critic for Liberty Island and Perihelion Science Fiction; native prairie/guerilla gardener; champion of liberty, indie authors & underdogs; one of the top two reviewers in Editors &Preditors Poll 2015; Amazon Vine, NetGalley Top Reviewer
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