"A children's story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children's story. The good ones last." --C.S. Lewis
This may be my favorite of the series so far. Not only does it seem like emotional and physical stakes have been raised, but I now also want to read the last book a lot more than I had the others (I continued with the series, wrote a review, but wasn't hooked on them the way you might think someone reading 3 novellas and 3 novels in that series would be.).
**These teens are so realistic. I've mentioned that the series includes a lot of angst between the characters and in the romance, but I can't deny how realistic and emotionally palpable this aspect feels. Obviously a lot of the problems arise as a result of the characters holding things back from each other, but hey, that happens, and the angst and drama and strong feeling makes it easier to connect with the characters. Because even if you get annoyed with a character, Kemmerer has still managed to make you *feel* something for the character and react to the story, and that's definitely not true for all books.
**I'd said before that I wanted a bit more clarity when it came to the paranormal powers. The world building in terms of the town, its history with the elementals, and the characters history with those attitudes was further developed. We were also given specifics to tell the differences between a regular elemental and a Full-fledged one (as the Merricks are). While I'm still not entirely sure I understand the scope of Becca or Hunter's powers, I think that I have a better grip on the elemental powers at large and no doubt knowing more about previous events helped.
**The changing character dynamics: this is probably my favorite part of all these books. Though each novel centers on one of the Merrick brothers (and Hunter), Kemmerer takes the time to flesh out how plot point 1 (e.g. meeting Adam) affects not only the protagonist but also the other members of the family, and even other characters across the town. Romantic interests have their own backstories, and the side characters (e.g. Gabriel in this book), in addition to the main protagonists, are always growing, learning from their mistakes. I found the character dynamics in this book particularly fascinating because I like Nick more than I like Gabriel, and I'm curious about their twin bond.
**These plots are very much focused on the characters in an almost contemporary-like fashion (minus, of course, your & their awareness of their powers), and yet with her past two novels, Brigid Kemmerer has managed to surprise me with some unpredictable plot twists. This is a series that is definitely improving with each book.
**The writing is just as compulsively readable and smooth as ever before.
If you haven't read any of these novels, you still can! Although starting with Secret means you might get spoiled by some mentions of previous plot points, Kemmerer does a good job keeping readers, no matter how many of her books they've read, up to date with the elements and where the characters currently stand in terms of danger level, their dynamics, etc.
As I said before: "This series is addicting. The books are easy to read, and they're just plain fun. Sometimes I didn't expect the pull. I'd pick up the book or open the Kindle app... and hours later, I was still reading, hooked to the page.
The great character dynamics and growth in the Elementals series make it stand out among the other YA PNR series. Recommended if you're looking for something fun but with some heart too."