I always thought authors were supposed to love their characters but I am beginning to think that Brigid Kemmerer hates her characters with a vicious vengeance because she doesn’t hesitate to hurt, injure, and damn near kill them. And then when they don’t die, she hurts them some more. In this (maybe) final installment of The Elementals series, the target for all this hurt is poor Michael Merrick.
Sacrifice is like no other book in this series – which is as it should be because this is Michael’s book, and Michael isn’t just a Merrick brother. He’s the guardian, the quasi-parent, and the one faced with trying to keep his loved ones alive. And with the events unfolding in Sacrifice, that job has never been more difficult. From the first page, the tension, suspense, and danger are ramped up so high readers will be on the edge of their seats before the first chapter is finished. The Merricks have never been in so much danger, and it just intensifies as the story unfolds.
Kemmerer has very cleverly written this book with a lack of presence of the cast we readers are used to. The younger Merricks and their significant others get very little page time in this book, which enhances the divide and separation that Michael feels as a brother who is a parent/guardian. On the other hand, as a reader, I missed the crew. I missed the banter between brothers and the sweet moments between couples. This book is so dark and so intense that I craved some lighter moments.
What I got instead was some absolutely shocking events. I’m not saying what they were because I hate spoilers, and I would want to maim someone if they spoiled this book for me, but I will say this. The book is called Sacrifice for a reason.
If there was one major letdown for me, it’s that it didn’t all come down to a massive, all-out battle between the guides and the elementals. I was expecting that. Waiting for it. Anticipating it since Book One. But it never happens. Not having a showdown between the elementals and the guides is like not having Harry battle it out with Voldemort and they just go on co-existing in the same world. It’s like the Fellowship of the Ring saying, “Nah, we’re good not battling that funky glowing eyeball thing. Let’s just have some mead instead.” Call me bloodthirsty, but I wanted my battle, dammit! I wanted the peace of mind that comes with knowing there has been a clear resolution. I wanted to know if the Merricks get a happily ever after or if the guides win in the end. I wanted to know a lot of things that I won’t discuss here because of spoilers.
I don’t think we fans are completely without hope, though. Kemmerer left Sacrifice open-ended. She left room for more, so I think what really needs to happen is we fans need to swamp Kensington Teen with demands for more Merricks. We need to inundate them with requests for more books in this series. We need to flood Kensington’s email until they are so sick of hearing from us that they contract Kemmerer for at least one more Elementals book, and then we can have our epic, world-changing battle (as long as all the Merricks survive, of course). You know, on second thought, considering what happens in this book and what I said about Kemmerer in my opening sentence, maybe asking for an all-out battle from her is a big mistake. She could easily go the route of George A.A. Martin and just start killing our favorites left and right. Maybe this series is better left alone…
No, nope, nah. I still want more, so I am ending this review so I can go petition Kensington Teen for more Merricks! Who’s with me?
Sacrifice, Kensington Teen, 9/30/14