I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Storm by Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elemental #1
Published by KTeen on April 24th 2012
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Young Adult
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Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys; all the ones she doesn't want. Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and 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.
Occasionally, my husband and I will discuss books that I am reading at the time. It mostly depends on if the cover sparks his curiosity enough to find out what it’s about. In this case, he saw me putting together the Elemental Virgins post a few weeks ago (which may or may not have led to a few awkward questions. “So you’re a virgin, huh?”), so he knew this was one of the books in the series. One day, I was minding my business, cracking up in my little Reading Corner at some witty banter between the Merrick boys, and hubby and I had an interesting exchange:
“So, what’s going on in your book? You liking it?” he said.
“Yeah, it’s pretty funny. I like some parts more than others,” I said.
“That’s good, I guess?” he asked.
“Well, it’s just this one character named Gabriel that’s being a total douche,” I replied.
“Uh oh. That doesn’t sound good. Are you going to anger the internet gods and write a scathing review?” he asked.
“What? No. I like this book far too much to do that,” I said. I mean, really, hun, is that what you think– okay, fair point.
“Alright, so tell me what it’s about.”
“It’s about these guys that can each control the elements. See the man-child on the cover? This book is Chris’ story. He can control water and his brothers can each control fire, wind and earth,” I explained.
*cue laughter from the hubby*
“What? What’s so funny?” I asked.
“The fact that you’re giving your V-card up to Captain Planet’s Planeteers,” he says.
*insert my unimpressed face here*
“‘We’re the Planeteers! You can be one too! ‘Cause saving our planet is the thing to do!'” he sung. Badly.
Ha. Ha. Ha. Everyone’s a comedian.
But my hubby is totally wrong, it’s nothing like Captain Planet, minus the whole element wielding thing, of course. But it does tell the story of four orphaned guys, living in a house together, struggling to stay out of trouble. Well, I should really rephrase that. Sometimes they manage to stay out of trouble. Other times, they welcomed it. But the thing with Storm and I is that we developed this weird love/hate relationship during our courtship. For every one thing I absolutely loved about it, there was always something else that I hated. So here are three things that I loved/hated about Storm.
The Merrick Boys
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love this group of guys. While this book does primarily tell Chris’ story and jumps between his and Becca’s PoV, the other brothers’ personality are not neglected what so ever. Each brother has such a distinct personality that comes through the pages loud and clear (except for Nick. He’s kinda quiet). I loved seeing the dynamic between them, which of course came with lots of witty banter like this:
“If you want me to fix your homework, you need to leave me alone.” Then he spotted her. “You’re back.”
“Yeah.” She glanced between him and Gabriel. “You do his homework?”
“Just the math. It’s a miracle he can count to ten.”
“I can count to one.” Gabriel gave him the finger.”
You could also tell how much they cared about each other. Since losing both parents in a tragic accident, the oldest brother Michael forgoes college and any other personal aspirations to stay home and raise his younger brothers. Sometimes he’s very over-protective, but that was totally understandable given what they’ve all gone through. The Merrick boys are virtually outcasts from their own kind and hunted for their powers. Their relationships and fierce protectiveness reminds me of how my siblings and I interacted.
But you want to know who I really thought the Merrick boys reminded me of?
The Mercer boys! Okay, so before you start giving me strange looks, hear me out! I mean, think about it. You have Bobby (Michael) who’s the one in charge, keeping the others in line. Angel (Gabriel) who is always getting into it with the leader and he’s the most volatile. Jeremiah (Nick) is the calm, responsible one. And finally, Jack (Chris) who is the younger, brooding member of the family. Now just picture Mark Wahlberg threatening someone while saying:
“Good.” Michael wrapped his hand around the hilt.
Then he lifted it, cocked the hammer, and put the barrel against Hunter’s forehead. “Now where the fuck are my brothers?”
Guys, tell me this is not a YA version of Four Brothers! And in case that wasn’t clear, that’s a compliment because that movie was awesome, filled with a lot of action and it has great chemistry between the brothers. Are you seeing my vision here?
So what was the thing that I disliked about the characters? Gabriel. I honestly was not feeling this guy. He came across a bit sexist to me when he kept commenting on Becca’s sexual ventures. He’d say things like “she’s been around the block” and how she slept with half the soccer team, etc. But I found that to be very unfair considering how he mentioned to her that it wasn’t unusual to find different girls in their house on a regular basis. BUT I do think that even though Gabriel felt like he was slut shaming to me, he DOES seem like a redeemable character. From what I hear from my other reviewing peeps, he does just that in his book, Spark.
I really appreciate the creativity that Brigid used in Storm. This could have easily turned into a run of the mile “boy saves girl, boy and girl fall in love, the universe is trying to keep them apart… oh noz!, happily ever after.” But it didn’t. Instead, the book starts off with the heroine, Becca, saving Chris from getting his ass handed to him on the parking lot. That one interaction causes her to continue to cross paths with the Merrick boys over the course of the book and from that moment on, there is very little downtime for the reader. When people say this is an addictive read, they aren’t joking. I stayed up well past my bedtime because I couldn’t seem to put it down.
I also loved how the story takes place somewhere that is very familiar to me. Thank you, Brigid! There are not nearly enough books set in this awesome town. 😉
-I found the plot to be fairly predictable in some parts. I had seen the mystery surrounding Hunter and Becca a mile away. The good thing is that it didn’t bother me in the slightest. The story is way to engaging for that.
-In the beginning, I felt that the Merrick boys were way too willing to share certain things with Becca even though they were trying not to tell her their secret. For example, Chris would make comments hinting at his powers to the point where it was painfully obvious, but Becca remained oblivious until Chris finally told her. Becca finding out the mystery felt a little too drawn out for my tastes and didn’t seem very organic.
-The writing style was a bit of an adjustment for me. I don’t think it was bad, I just dislike 3rd person PoV because I am a strange person and it usually takes me a lot longer to connect with characters. This is just a personal pet peeve, so that probably wouldn’t bother most people who have a heart and soul. Unlike me… or so Kat tells me.
Becca was a very interesting character and I felt that Brigid took a risk with her. Mostly this was not a bad thing. Becca is sexually harassed throughout most of the book and is labeled the school slut. I think that was a very realistic portrayal of what happens to some girls and overall I did like Becca as a character. She’s spunky and does hold her own up against the Merrick boys since they are not the most accepting bunch of people.
-I feel like Becca made a few decisions that were illogical, like say, going to a party thrown by a guy who started the rumors about her and who continued to harass her only to get drunk there. Given what her past was with this guy, that made so little sense to me. Also, in the end where she goes outside of the dance to talk with the guy (Drew) alone, was so not smart on so many levels. Why not have Hunter just stand at a distance while she had the convo and be nearby just in case douchey McDouchey Pants tried to try anything. And you can believe that Drew did intend to try something. It was like watching a character in a horror movie opening That Door and you’re yelling at your TV, (as if they can hear you) telling them not to, but they don’t listen and they die. That is how I felt with Becca.
-The moment where Becca finally stood up to Gabriel and his snide comments, was awesome for me… right up until he decided to get revenge on Drew by beating him up. It felt like the scene’s focus shifted from Becca being the victim and having her moment to Gabriel being the hero. The problem I have is that every time Becca was being sexually harassed, it was one of the Merrick boys that came swooping in for the rescue. Becca wasn’t exactly a pushover since she did stand up to the Merricks on countless occasions. I would have liked to see Becca be her own hero when it came to standing up to Drew.View Spoiler »-There is an almost rape scene between Becca, Drew and a group of other boys (and it was more graphic that what I thought it’d be). To me, it felt conveniently placed just so Chris and Becca would end up on the field during that lightning storm. One of my pet peeves is when a heroine’s gender is used to further the plot. It’s like, she’s a girl and so the worst possible thing that will happen to her is rape, so let’s throw in a rape scene. But more than that, this one didn’t seem authentic to me because Drew essentially says, “Everyone thinks I raped you. So even though I didn’t and could possibly plead my case, I’m going to commit the crime everyone thought I did… just because.” Really, Drew?
And then, of course, that was Chris’ cue to step in and save Becca. I wasn’t very impressed with that scene. « Hide Spoiler
But despite my issues, I would still recommend this book. It’s addictive and a really entertaining read that appears to get better with every book. As for me? Weathering this Storm proved to be very rewarding. How do I feel about losing my Elemental V-card? Well, you know what they say. You never forget your first time. Heh.
A copy of Storm was provided by KTeen for the Spirit blog tour, hosted by The Midnight Garden! Thank you!
I hated Gabriel, his sexism and his double standards so much.. it ruined the entire book for me andput me off reading any more books in the series.
I was pissed that Gabriel only started showing Becca respect once he found out she hadn’t slept with anyone.. So basically if she had turned out that she had a lot of sexual experience she wouldn’t have been worthy… Yet it was fine and dandy that he slept around, his busy sex life didn’t make him any less decent or worthy of love.
I hated the ‘slut shaming’… Especially when it was someone who was meant to be a hero in the series. Of course, in Gabriel’s own book he falls for some virginal girl because girls who have sexual experience are dirty, unworthy whores that aren’t good enough for him. Ugh.
Great review btw:)
ferdybookgeek Yes to everything you said.
Of course, in Gabriel’s own book he falls for some virginal girl because girls who have sexual experience are dirty, unworthy whores that aren’t good enough for him. Ugh.
Oh dear… this worries me.
ferdybookgeek You know, even though I loved the second book, you make a good point about the girl having zero sexual experience. Thanks for pointing it out, because I got so caught up in the story I didn’t even think about that part. (I did notice the repetition of storyline though—girl gets humiliated in a sexual way by school’s popular bullies.)
I read this book last year, and I liked it a lot! I’m a sucker for elementals, and this book swept me away. I meant to read it again for this (since I joined in to finish out what’s been released in the series), but I haven’t yet. I think it’ll be interesting to do so after reading your review. Perhaps I will now notice things that I haven’t noticed before!
Well, I had a big problem with Becca. I didn’t like her! And I was expecting the book was more about Chris, and not just Becca and Hunter. I think the plot was very predictable sometimes like you said (I knew from the beginning all the truth about Becca and Hunter, and I just knew who was the bad guy). But the book is very adictive and I loved the Merricks brothers.
Thanks for your review, awesome like always 😉
p.s. I know Gabriel is a completely asshole in Storm, BUT I totally loved him in Spark! I’ll be waiting for your Spark’s review 😀
your husband is a hoot! LOL i remember Captain Planet and the Planeteers xD Lord! those were the days! hahahaha.
I love your review Steph, I’ve seen so many great reviews on this series, I’m still an Elemental Virgin I must admit, but I’m definitely intrigued. I love how the guys are protective of each other, and I loved Four Brothers! so yeah, definitely loving that comparison. we’ll see how it goes when i give it a try ^_^
Your husband is so cute! Gabriel is a douche on this one, but like so many others have confirmed, he does redeem himself on Spark. He’s my favourite brother so far but that might change when Nick’s book comes out. I didn’t like Becca at all. Or Hunter. Good thing they weren’t in the other books so much. I’ll just have to tough it up with Hunter when Spirit is released but apparently it was a really good book. So looking forward to reading that!
Your spoiler scene is the reason Storm lost a star for me – I was just so disappointed that the thing that almost happened was being used as a plot device…a convenient plot device at that! (In my copy, his name was Drew?)
But, everything else was so addicting and fast-paced, that despite some similar reservations, I gave this four stars anyways. I just love the chemistry between the brothers! And I was only upset with Gabriel because I couldn’t understand why he was such an ass to Michael – I knew his anger was misplaced, but we didn’t get the details on why for the longest time!
@Kelly Yeah, I was just reading your review and noticed you had the same problem. And OMG, is it Drew? Where did I get Blake from??? *runs to check book*
The chemistry between the brothers was the best part! I’m really looking forward to more of their interactions.
@Kelly Gahhhh! It is! I will correct that. How embarrassing. And this is what happens when you don’t write your reviews shortly after finishing, kids.
@Kelly Gahhhh! It is! I will correct that. How embarrassing. And this is what happens when you don’t write your reviews shortly after finishing, kids.
I think you pretty much highlighted everything I liked and didn’t like about this book.
I gave the boys a “pass” whenever they were talking alone, because yeah, they are guys and I felt like guys are gonna talk differently when they’re alone than when they’re with girls.
But as you said, the issue that comes up for me again and again is how the gender/sex problems were handled. It surprised me that a female writer like Kemmerer would over and over again take the power AWAY from Becca by having her make unwise choices(like going to a party given her history with the character and going somewhere alone with him). I didn’t analyze it at closely as you did, as far as using girly problems for plot advancement.
And then there were the moments that could have been teachable, like where Gabriel finally takes her side and she basically is just GRATEFUL he likes her now. Uh… give him crap, woman! Don’t let him get away with what he did, which was just as bad as the school bullies.
My main problem is that except for those boys (who let’s face it are the driving point of this series), this story could be practically any YA PNR. I picked up The Collector and for a second I was like… hey, isn’t this the same story (girl wise) nice girl gets taunted, ridiculed and embarrassed by the popular crowd. Hot boys are all well and good, but with the exception of Quinn (who gets a super bad rap for being promiscuous) none of the other girls are super memorable. Why do the hot guys have the INSANE character building while the girls seem left in the dust?
I don’t have the same feelings toward the next book in the series, because I think Kemmerer’s craft improves a lot. But there is still some of that same “nice girl picked on by popular crowd” stuff. I don’t have the world’s most common high school experience, so I’m not sure how common this kind of thing is in public school. Is it so common that like EVERY YA book has to have it? Maybe someone can enlighten me.
I’ve seen this book everywhere and needed a review like this to push me over the edge to buying it. While there seem to be a few issues with it, I still think it look so awesome! Loved you detailed, thought out review!
Alexandra @ Alexandra's Scribblings
I really love this one – I adored Becca (though I seem to be in the minority in that I prefered Hunter to Chris, and can’t wait for his book), and very much connected with her character. I also didn’t notice the slut-shaming and sex problems to the extent that other reviewers – like you and Radiant Shadows’ Kelly did, which is making me feel slightly oblivious. I do think though that Kemmerer did a pretty good job at writing Becca’s actual trauma response – I really liked that Kemmerer had her BE affected (in the way that she’s so anxious about being touched and misinterpreted), because I think too many YA authors put their characters through traumatic situations and forget to write the emotional/psychological consequences of them, and that pisses me off. I loved that she
remained an active participant in her own life, that she faced down the
things that scared her rather than running away. I love that she doesn’t really
have a victim mentality, and I think that that influences the way that she
responds to things.
Looking forward to seeing what you think of Gabriel in Spark. I think it really helps getting to see things from his point of view.
Laurens Loquacious Lit
I definitely loved Spark A LOT more than Storm, I liked Storm, but by the time I got to Spark I was a blubbering mess of FEELS for Gabriel. The bit I love most about these books is the characterisation of the boys and their family dynamic, these are the most likeable boy characters I have ever read.
Sadly, I am still in possession of my V-card at this point. This book does sound like a lot of fun, and I LOVE that it focuses on a sibling relationship (my favorite). It’s disappointing to hear that the plot was slightly predictible, but I’m thinking that the addictiveness will make up for that in the end. Hopefully the next few books in the series will work just as well for you, Steph!And LOL @ your conversation with your husband. 🙂
Review: Spark by Brigid Kemmerer | Cuddlebuggery Book Blog
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