Spirit

Spirit - Brigid Kemmerer 3.5 STARSThis is gonna be tricky to review because I'm on a "spoiler tag cleanse" and holy ducklings did this book have a lot of spoiler tag worthy moments.What I love about this series is that the bigger plot supersedes everything else. For a book centered on 4 hot brothers with elemental powers, it's pretty easy to satisfy the fangirl among its loyal followers. It was always strange to me that Chris got the first book and Michael's only got a novella but as the story progresses, you realize these characters serve the bigger plot and not the other way around. That being said, of the bunch - outside of his epic Ho-yay moments with Gabriel - I'm not exactly Hunter's biggest fan (it might just be the Rogue-like streak of white hair) but after reading a full-length novel about him, I may have just understood Hunter's love of brown rice and steamed tofu a little better. The blurb I think is pretty self-sufficient and this book is a little less action, little more emotion to be honest so there's really nothing to summarize further. Just like Gabe in Spark there's an underlying theme of angst in Spirit that wasn't really unexpected for me but it continues with this series' trademark of delivering the story with tempered male-o-drama that makes it stand out from the rest. Reading about Hunter, a 16-year old boy, trying to deal with his circumstances while maintaining some dignity and pride as an adult man gave me that scratchy throat feeling. Hunter's best moments were those he had with Michael. There's one pivotal scene for Hunter at the 75%-ish mark after a particularly intense moment with Kate that was just so well-crafted with subtext. There was no other person Hunter should've had that scene with other than Michael and you'd understand why without getting hammered on the head with it. However, Hunter's inability to trust anyone led to redundant internal conflicts that led to repeated wrong choices that led to predictable outcomes. Some turns of phrases even got a little repetitive ("He couldn't have done something if someone tried to do another something to him") and it got a little exhausting to read about him getting beaten up/shot at after making the same error in judgment or have a Merrick misunderstanding one too many times. I have mixed feelings with Kate as the new chick on the block. I love her take charge, upfront attitude but her issues and conflicts mirror that of Hunter's a little too closely. Both are trapped in situations they want to break out of but can't. They're like the kids perpetually watching the playground outside the fence: watching the same people through the same pair of eyes which makes, again, for redundant conversations. Sure they had some hot moments but their chemistry felt a bit off for me when they're together. actually, Kate came out a little more likable when she's apart from Hunter. The Merricks as a unit continue to be as satisfying as a bucket of KFCs (they REALLY love their finger-lickin' goods). As the core of this series, this family continues to entertain with the brothers' endearing dynamics, drawing in and bringing together the new characters without coming across as "perfect" in completing what's initially broken among the "strays". Could've done with a little more of Gabriel moments though, and the little I've seen of him only made me miss him more."Words, not hands," said Layne. She poked Gabriel with her fork. "I think you need a T-shirt that says that."He leaned in close. "Give me five minutes and I bet I can change your mind."Scene-stealer that one, But I'd gladly read a novella about his interesting shirt collection.In the end, Hunter's book did deliver more than I expected. The new characters didn't charm (or in the case of Silver and Calla, worry) me as much as they should but the heart-stopping moments totally made up for it.ARC provided by Kensington Teen thru NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.