Written by Brigid Kemmerer
Published January, 2014 by Allen & Unwin
Genres: Elemental, Romance, Urban Fantasy
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Nick Merrick is stretched to breaking point. He's trying to keep his grades sky-high or he won't get in to college. He's trying to keep his brother's business afloat or the Merricks will be out on the street. He's trying to keep the secret of where he's going in the evenings from his twin brother Gabriel - or he fears he'll lose his family. And he's trying to keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who is his 'girlfriend's' partner.
And then Quinn takes to hanging around his sworn enemy, and an Elemental Guide is counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. Storms are brewing. On all sides.
This was the Elementals book I had been waiting for. From the very beginning, Secret had me hooked. Nick Merrick has always been my favourite brother and his story didn’t disappoint. With shocking twists, alliances and plenty of pulling on the emotional heartstrings, fans of the series will not want to miss the latest installment.
To begin with, I have to touch on why I love The Elementals series so much. They’re one of the only series I can stay ‘in love’ with despite the months between each release. They’re also extremely easy to devour in one sitting, and keep you glued to the page. When you pick up the latest book, you feel like you’ve never left the world of the Merrick brothers, too. I feel like I know these characters so well and love to see them interact. I have a lot of favourite aspects when it comes to Brigid Kemmerer’s fantastic series, but these are just some of the many.
I don’t like to read a lot of hints or spoilers when it comes to an upcoming addition in the series, and I stuck to this rule prior to the release of Secret. I had read the synopsis and that was it. I’m also not a fan of novellas, but luckily for me the Breathless novella was included in my print copy.
I began with Breathless, and let me just say… I was absolutely gobsmacked. When I found out the title to Nick Merrick’s book was Secret, I gathered it had something to do about his elemental powers… I was way off. Breathless reveals his true secret – he’s gay.
Now, I have absolutley zero problems with guy/guy relationships, but I must admit I was shocked and briefly disappointed. How could Brigid Kemmerer do this to me? Nick was mine! From the very beginning of this series, Nick had been my favourite – MY MERRICK BROTHER – and now he’d been snatched away from me.
Cue the acceptance. And then the awww’s when his and Adam’s relationship began to evolve.
I actually came to kinda love Nick and Adam, and I realised that if I had to give Nick away to anyone, it should be him.
Nick had some pretty big issues to sort out throughout Secret regarding his sexuality. He had to come out to his brothers, friends and really accept it himself. The emotion in these pages was just so raw, and I really applaud Brigid Kemmerer on exploring this topic so well. She did a great job. I haven’t read any YA that had dealt with ‘coming out’ before, so it was all new to me.
Along with his accepting sexuality, Nick had to learn how to go after what he wanted and choose the path he wanted in life.
Quinn was our central female character this time around and she had some pretty heavy stuff to deal with, too. There was her relationship with Tyler (the Merrick’s mortal enemy) which I found I really enjoyed, as well as her atrocious home life. She had to learn to love herself, let other people in and finally feel worthy of what she deserved.
Quinn was never a character I really loved in this series prior to Secret, so it was a pleasant surprise to come out loving her as much as I did. Her friendship with Nick is probably my favourite friendship within the series thus far.
Tyler also featured prominently in the story, and the revelation that he was in fact a full elemental like the Merrick brothers added some extra spice to the story. I can’t wait to see where this is headed, and how their shaky alliance is going to work in the next book. I love how our character pool is growing – I absolutely love the Merrick extended family.
Secret takes everything that was great about its predecessors and really amps it up. Brigid Kemmerer has managed to charge each page with so much emotion and humour. The ‘elemental’ side of things took a bit of a back seat this time around, but I didn’t mind in the slightest – there was just so much character development.
I am, once again, in awe at how Brigid Kemmerer manages to write her guys. Her dialogue is just flawless and I can’t believe that I’m not witnessing real, modern-day conversations whenever I read one of her books. I feel as if I could run into one of her characters down the street (here’s hoping!)
I cannot recommend this series enough. I really don’t want it to end! The next book Sacrifice seems to be the last, and I’m going to mourn the loss when it’s all come to an end.
Recommended to: If you haven’t tried this series, you really must. If you’re already a member of the Merrick fan club, then you’ll love Secret!