Published: September 24th 2014 by Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback, 267 pages
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Earth. Fire. Air. Water.
Michael Merrick understands pressure. He's been a sole parent to his three brothers for years. And he's determined to protect them. But an Elemental Guide is ruthlessly hunting his family and Michael is all that stands in his way. His power to control Earth could keep everyone safe or it could kill - if he loses control.
His girlfriend, Hannah, understands pressure too. She has a child of her own, and a job as a firefighter that puts her in danger every day. Especially when fire is the weapon of choice for whoever is coming after Michael and his family.
The Guides are armed for war. They're not interested in surrender. They don't care about casualties. Michael isn't the white flag type - but can he protect everyone he cares about?
Sacrifice is the final book in the Elementals series by Brigid Kemmerer. When we met the Merrick brothers in Storm, they were a very different group of young men than the ones we hang out with in this book.
The situation between the Elementals and the Guides has escalated to the point where Michael worries about the safety of his brothers and everyone around them all the time. Michael sense danger is not far off, and it makes him overly cautious and paranoid. Michael has always been there for his brothers, and for Hunter as well, so it was really interesting to see things from his point of view. He’s as protective of his brothers as he’s ever been, but now we get to see his vulnerability and how much he second-guesses himself. His brothers see him as someone who always knows what to say and has all the answers, but Michael is plagued with doubt and always worries that he hasn’t brought up his brothers well. I also liked getting to know how the Earth element works – it’s not like any of the others and that was fun to read about!
Like the other Elementals books, Sacrifice is told in dual point of view. The leading lady in this book is Hannah, Michael’s girlfriend. Like Michael, she had to grow up too fast as well. Pregnant with her son James as seventeen, Hannah now lives at home with her fire-marshal father and raises her son while working as a fire-fighter. I liked Hannah and think her personal stroy-line where she had to reconnect with her father and get to know her parents as an adult was interesting.
Her relationship with Michael is great because they’re so perfect for each other, but Michael distances himself from her when he realises that the Guides might target her and her son. I thought it would be great to see their relationship because unlike all the other romances in the series, they were already established as couple when the book began. However, the increased danger to Hannah means that Michael and Hannah actually get very little ‘screen-time’ together (but the few moments they do get are very sweet!)
Unfortunately, the sweet romantic story wasn’t matched with a kick ass storyline in this book. In many ways the plot feels congested – there are so many things going on that it’s hard to get invested in anything. It also felt like there was a lot of angst and not a lot of action in the book – we spent a lot more time agonising over what could happen than actually combating any danger. And the final show-down with the Guides was great, but the build-up had me thinking it would be more … momentous.
Regardless, I enjoyed Sacrifice and think that it closes out the story of the Merrick brothers admirably. It was great to be in Michael’s head, and I think fans of the series will enjoy it. If you haven’t already, grab a copy of Storm and meet the gorgeous (and powerful) Merrick brothers as soon as you can!