Monday, April 16, 2012

Storm (Elemental #1), Brigid Kemmerer

Title: Storm
Author: Brigid Kemmerer (author website)
Release Date: 3rd May 2012 by Allen & Unwin
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 starhalf star

Four brothers, each a powerful elemental, a community at war, and one girl caught in the middle, Brigid Kemmerer brings her A-game in her electrifying debut. Storm should come with a cautionary notice. Something like: “Severe Weather Warning: This book will blow you away.”

From Goodreads:
Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they have more power than you dream.

Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her, Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys—all the ones she doesn't want. 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...

The Story:

When Becca Chandler saves a boy from a brutal beating in her school’s parking lot, chasing off his attackers, she has no idea what her good Samaritan act is getting her caught up in. The boy is Chris Merrick, who, along with his brothers, is an Elemental, ‘gifted’ with the ability to control water. And that might just be the least of the surprises coming her way. It’s not only Chris’ attackers, or Chris himself, who are interested in Becca. ‘New Kid’ at school, Hunter, has his eyes on Becca, and he’s not so bad to eye back... but who should she trust? Like it or not, Becca finds herself caught up in war not just for the Merricks’ survival, but her own.

Becca and Chris, Chris and Becca…

Storm wastes no time jumping straight into the action. We join Becca as she finds Chris being beaten in the school parking lot, and it escalates from there. Told between Becca and Chris’ point of view, we’re give a unique viewpoint into their world: the ‘outsider’ view of Becca, as she tries to discover what she’s been dragged into, and that of Chris, who knows what’s happening around him, but still doesn’t necessarily hold all the cards or information. Both Chris and Becca are eminently likeable, fascinating and engrossing, and both have unique, singular voices.

Becca’s not an ‘action chick’ exactly, but she’s never afraid to take action. She’s brave, curious and compassionate. After saving Chris, who is in her grade, but she hardly knows, her world is irrevocably shaken, and only gets more complicated from there. But Becca’s life is hardly simple to begin with. It becomes clear Becca has secrets of her own, and there’s a meaningful subplot to Storm in the shape of some truly vicious bullying. And this is why it’s so difficult to discuss this book. It’s not a linear love story, a paranormal, or an action-packed thriller. It’s all of these things, and it’s much more. It’s layered and nuanced in a way that renders it not just compulsively readable, but truly memorable.

It’s not only Becca who is the victim of malicious harassment; the ‘bullying’ Chris Merrick endures could cost him his life. The quietest and most reserved of his brothers, Chris is much like element he controls: calm and still on the surface—sometimes—but hiding a tumult of dangers, currents and fathomless depths below. Watching Becca and Chris step around each other is a delight. There’s an almost palpable tension between them. The two are drawn to each other, but neither understands the other, neither knows what it means. Both hide secrets and hurts, and are struggling to fight inner demons as well as the external kind. But Storm isn’t entirely Chris and Becca’s story, there is another boy very much involved, in the way of Hunter, ‘New Kid’ at school. He’s fascinating, mysterious, and he has a story as heartbreaking, intriguing and important as Chris or Becca’s. He plays a large and important role in Storm, and it feels as though his part may only just be becoming clear.

The Brothers:

Where Storm truly shines is in the authenticity of its characters, in particular the four brothers at its core. There’s been a lot of buzz about how ‘swoon worthy’, hot, and amazing these boys are, and it does bear repeating. But this isn’t what gives the book its compulsively readable quality, or what makes it so utterly gripping. Every one of the four Merrick boys feels real. It’s the brotherly bond they share, the care, the tension, the anger and the banter between them that is so entertaining, and at times heartbreaking, to read. Chris and his brothers are fascinating to say the least. Enormously powerful, the boys are a natural disaster waiting to happen—literally. But they keep their powers constantly tamped down. They live in fear of a power greater than theirs, creating a fascinating dichotomy between their power, and powerlessness to defend themselves without bringing a fate worse than harassment down on their heads.

The Verdict:

There’s a surprising complexity to Storm. It’s a story with many dimensions, and one that truly deserves to be singled out amongst an abundance of young adult Paranormals. It’s not one aspect of the story that shines, but a cohesive mix of all its parts, combined to make something layered, something truly unique and special. Storm isn’t about a group of brothers with unbelievable supernatural powers. It’s not about boy meets girl. It’s not about one of the first love triangles I’ve ever read and genuinely enjoyed, nor is it bullying, discrimination, grief or friendship. It’s more. It’s the way in which Kemmerer blends them all together, into a mix of colours more vivid and alluring then any one part could be on its own.

Storm is a remarkable debut. Brigid Kemmerer’s gift for characterisation and pitch-perfect voice combine with gripping story and perfect pacing to make Storm a riveting an utterly addictive read. Action packed from start to finish, Brigid’s nailed a perfect balance between excitement, romance and supernatural to create something magic. A story that is so many things, but most importantly, fun.

Books in This Series:

  1. Storm
  2. Spark (Later 2012)
  3. Spirit (2013)
An enormous thank you to Allen & Unwin for providing a review copy of Storm!

So guys, if you could control an element, which would choose? Earth, Fire, Air, Water? Or would you really just like to be the Avatar :D

37 comments:

  1. SARAH!! OH MY GOODNESS, YOUR REVIEW COMPLETELY BLEW ME AWAY. Your review is going to bring STORM because it is just that AMAZING. Simply put, it is PERFECT. You described everything I loved about Storm and YES! Brigid voices her characters really well and this is truly a REMARKABLE DEBUT!

    If I can control an element, I want to control water. But if Avatar is an option then OF COURSE I'd choose to become Avatar. Controlling 4 elements is FUN and very USEFUL! I don't even need to learn karate or martial arts because my elements are my self-defence! :P But, if I can only choose one element then I'll definitely choose water. I LOVE WATER! Water is a powerful element too. It 'kills' fire, it can make tsunami and it basically is the source of life. Without water, we can't live! And human body is also made up of 90% water!

    Anyway, SO GLAD YOU LOVED STORM, Sarah! ♥ Absolutely can't wait for Spark!

    PS: I AM TEAM MERRICK BROTHERS! (Because I can't choose one at all! :P)

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  2. Seriously, Sarah! Could you make me any more desperate for this book? I didn't think it was possible but apparently it is.

    Amazing, AMAZING review. I can't wait to get my hands on this book.

    Kim

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  3. Every time I read a review for this book, I want it more and more! I honestly wasn't at all interested in this before but then all this praise started gushing out from reviewers and now I can't wait to get my hands on this! It sounds like a great story and I'm glad to hear you say the love triangle was enjoyable. I wonder if I will feel the same way! :D Awesome review!

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  4. Sarah and her amazing reviews STRIKE AGAIN <3 Everything you wrote = PERFECTION. I especially love your "Brothers" paragraph, I couldn't have said it better. Yes, they are hot... GOOD GOD, THEY ARE HOT. But they're so much more than that, Brigid's talent runs deeper than just painting pretty faces. And she so, so, SO brilliantly nails the characters and their flaws and their dialogue and emotiond and the teenage angst.

    Honestly, Becca and all the boys are so dominating my favourite characters list at the moment. This is going to shape up to be such an amazing series. I already want to reread Storm a hundred times over! And your review? SO. NOT. HELPING! <333

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    Replies
    1. Between you and Brodie I'm going to have to read this one soon! And surprising complexity? Sign me up. :D

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  5. Amazing review, Sarah! I agree with everything you said . . . this book was more than I expected it to be! And those boys? Damn. *fans self*

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  6. Are your reviews getting better? Is that even possible? How can you improve on perfect (thanks Brodie)? :)

    It's such a joy to be swept away by real, 3D characters and a great, well-rounded story.

    Do I need to start a TBR list? We already know that HP is in it ;)

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    Replies
    1. ♥ eee! Thank you! I hope they are? I kind of shudder when I go back and read some of my older ones :D

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  7. It is a sign of how much I love and trust you that I take your reviews as gospel. Really. I mean, I know lots of reviewers like Storm, but seeing what a high rating you just gave it... Well, NOW I know it's going to be worth my time!

    I think by now some people know I'm really particular about books I like... and I'm tough on main characters. I worry that romance is going to take over things I read, and I'm not always a fan of that. Storm looks like it focuses on complex, believable relationships, and the way you say that it's "a story with many dimensions" makes me want to run to the nearest bookstore that has it in order to get it. Kemmerer must be immensely talented!

    In response to your question, by the way... I've always been a water girl! *high-fives fellow Piscean* (; Sometimes I think I could control earth, if not water, but I just feel like I have a connection with water. Maybe it's just me, heehee.

    Again, love your reviews, Sarah! Can't wait to get Storm now!

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    Replies
    1. Aw, Kathe, you're making me nervous! I really genuinely enjoyed the book... and there's a lot to be said for pure and simple joy taken from a book, if you know what I mean?

      Brigid is amazing. Brodie's convinced (and so am I) that she's actually a teen boy in disguise :D

      Hehehe! YES! If I had to choose ONE element, it'd totally be water. Rocking the pisces, baby ;D

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  8. For some reason, I kinda had no interest in this title when I first heard about it, but all the reviews I've seen so far have been raves. Your review is AWESOME, Sarah! It tells me everything I'd want to know. I love an action-packed story, and if you throw in magic and a great romance, I'm there!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  9. tnx 4 the review sarah
    i can't wait for book2

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  10. Great review Sarah!! This book now has move up on my tbr list!! Once it comes out I will have to get my hands on it :D

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  11. Oh my goodness, what a review! I really liked it how you got in depth about all the little parts of the book. So, okay... I was excited about Storm, but after reading your review I think I'm in a whole new level.

    I'm also always curious about family relationships. I really cannot wait to see and get to know all Merrick brothers! If they're hot, then that's a plus :P

    I usually like fighter heroines, but Becca seems like a great main character, too. And I can't wait to see the best -- how their magic and powers are played out in their everyday lives. Now, that'll be really something!

    I have Elemental. I think I'm going to start reading it tomorrow! :)

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  12. I hadn't even heard of this book, but now? I NEED IT IN MY LIFE. It sounds like both the storyline and characters are layered -- which definitely makes for a nice change of pace from a lot of YA paranormal type reads which so often only skim the surface of their potential. I'm definitely adding this to my TBR list. Excellent review, Sarah!

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  13. Umm wow. To be honest, the cover did not catch me. Then I read the summary and still I was not convinced. But them you have to be all brilliant and make me want to read this book with just your review. I like the idea that it's complex. I haven't read many complex books lately so it might be a nice change of pace.

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  14. This sounds awesome! I love reading good, strong family relationships.
    Element wise... it depends on what they could do. If there was one that was healing, I'd be there. Would that be water or earth, do you think? Either one would work for me!

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    1. Oooh, you know what one of the coolest things in Storm is? Each of the elements can heal the person connected to it ;D

      I think water, though :D

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  15. I love reading about brotherly relationships or bonds in books. Like with Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel, I am most interested in the brother-like relationship and friendship between Jem and Will out of all of the relationships in the story.

    I got this book a couple of weeks ago, but haven't heard too much about it. Thank you for your wonderful review! You just made me want to read this book next out of my enormous TBR pile because it sounds like a book that I will really love.

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  16. I just sent in my request for this one and I can't wait!!! You just made me drool with your review. In a good way, you know?

    Sooooo glad you enjoyed it! I am really excited about your upcoming Storm features on the blog!!! HELL YEAH for Character Q&A's. HILARIOUSLY EPIC.

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  17. Oh gosh after reading your review, I'm even more excited to read this book! I've been hearing a lot of buzz about this. I have heard about the swoonworthy guys but I love that you said BROTHERLY BONDS too because I love that! I seriously can't wait to get swept away in this story.

    If I could control an element, it would probably be water! BUT WAIT, with air I could fly! I guess I will just go with being the Avatar then. :P Hee, love that you mention that cos I love Avatar and I immediately thought of it when I read of the elements.

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  18. I've been seeing this book a LOT lately. It doesn't sound like a book I'd pick and read, but since you loved it, i just have to check it out when it comes out. Awesome review, Sarah!

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  19. I keep seeing Aussie bloggers excited about this book, I feel like everyone is going cuh-razy for it!

    I enjoyed your review, Saz and I will read once it's out ;)

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  20. I haven't heard of this book before but it sounds AMAZING! And the cover is so pretty! Great review :)

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  21. eeeep! I just read Elemental and I am freaking dying for this one Sarah. So glad you enjoyed this one. Loved your review. <3
    Ƹ̴Ӂ̴ƷFICBOOKREVIEWSƸ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ

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  22. OHMYGOODNESSSS! STORM WAS AMAZINGGGGG, RIGHT?!?! I absolutely LOVEDD their brotherly bond! Which reminds mee...HAVE YOU READ THE 1st CHAPTER OF SPARK YET?!? (it's so amazingly entertaining and utterly HILARIOUS!) Seriously, Sarah, your review is PERFECT! <3

    And as for your question...um...I actually have NO IDEA which element I'd like to control :( Maybee....water/air since my fav. brothers are Nick/Chris? Hahaaa

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  23. Oh wow!! Sarah you have read STORM!! Lucky you!! And 4.5 STARS!!! YAY!! I have skimmed your review and once I have read STORM I shall read it properly, I like that 'Storm wastes no time jumping into the action'...Now straight away I KNOW I am going to LOVE this series and be addicted to it. Catching Suki the prequel got me fired up for Hunting Lila, Elemental got me fired up for this series.

    I have to admit I am vey much my fictional age bouncy for this book:D

    x

    Michelle

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  24. Oh my gosh, SARAH-BARA. I have no idea how I missed your review for this since 1) I've been obsessed with everything that has to do with Brigid Kemmerer lately (with good reason, of course!) and 2) your blog is on my blog roll (because it's awesome, of course! ;P), but this. review. was. PERFECT!

    Most YA books don't really focus on family (or bullying!) nowadays, so just reading you about the way you describe their brotherly bond makes me wish I had brothers too! Although most girls would probably just befriend me to get close to them LOL... x) So that might be a negative. I'd save one for you though, of course! <3

    Ohh Sarah, I wish my reviews could be as beautifully written as yours! This was a BREATHTAKING review -- my copy of Storm can't get here fast enough!! :')

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  25. *DIES* AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. THIS IS SUCH A PERFECT REVIEW, I CAN'T EVEN... ksjhfkjsdfhkjsdfhsdfh (I'm like a compulsive keysmasher nowadays)

    But ahh. I LOVE that this is a blend of different stories/plots/genres/whatever the right word is. I'm feeling kind of reminded of that quote from Divergent - you know, where Four is talking about how he wants to be brave and smart and kind (horrible paraphrasing but hopefully you know what I'm talking about). LOL anyways... where were we...

    BROTHERS <3 I appreciate hotness as much as the next girl but family love is always, always something that hits me. If it's strong and done really well, it just makes the book infinity times more memorable for me (like the Demon series by Sarah Rees Brennan! ALAN <3). I love that this book has such a good relationship between the boys.

    CANNOT wait to get this one and read it! :)

    Sonia

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  26. Okay, DESPITE the praise and everything that's been generating from this book and even my mild interest - because, hullo, I'd have to be DEAD not to be at least kind of interested in four hot bros with awesome powers - I wasn't planning on reading this one for a while yet. Now... things have CHANGED. Now, I'm thinking, I NEED this book. I want to experience this, the relationship between the brothers, the paranormal aspects, the friendships and romance, even the more severe plot points.

    YOU are AWESOME, Sarah! My gosh, this was such a fabulous review!

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  27. YAY! Super awesome review, chick! I really enjoyed this one too and the triangle is one of the best in YA!! I also wasn't sure about so many characters and if it would work but she really made them all unique and well developed. I can't wait for book 2!

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  28. I just fell in love with you. How do you manage to read reviews like this one? :O Also.. I will need to buy this book. *grin*

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  29. Wonderful Review! Thanks for introducing me to a new book! sounds like a fantastic original story!

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  30. First of all: awesome review! Seriously, if someone can tease me, it's you! You even tease me with books I've read. ;) Need my book nowwww.

    Secondly: I don't know how many times I've though about controlling elements and which to choose! LOL. I love them all. o: I think in the end it comes to air or water though, even if I'm supposedly a fire element. I guess fire kind of scares me though, lol. I think air would be coolest! :D When I was younger I actually tried controlling it... no luck though. *sigh* Hahah

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  31. Fantastic review! Ooooh, I cannot wait to read this book! With each review I read, it sounds more and more amazing! I need me some Storm!

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  32. I can has the borrow? I like the idea of the brothers living together. It's adorakble cute, them being all brotherly and bonding and like "How was your day?" and stuff. Sharing their inner girl woes and stuff.

    Also: It reminds me of Captain PLanet. Is there gunna be a book from the Tim Riggins looking brother? Cos then it will be full of dreamyness without the jailbait connotations.

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  33. I love this book. Great characters, plot, action, all that. But the ending. THE ENDING!!! I actually screamed a little when I went to turn the page thinking there was something next and it was over. It seemed that no sooner did I finally see a glimpse of what I wanted, that it just cuts off. I wanted to explode! I wanted to hunt down the author, Kemmerer, and demand that she writes another ending. An ending that had at least five more pages. I actually had to wait a week before I could write this review because otherwise the review would have just been a rant about the ending. And I realize even now that I could go on about it for another five paragraphs. It was that outrageous. I'll stop now, but if she ends the next book like this one, I may not survive it. But again, this is still an amazing book.

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