Series: Elemental #5
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Kensington Teen
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Earth. Fire. Air. Water.
One misstep and they lose it all. For the last time.
Michael Merrick understands pressure. He's the only parent his three brothers have had for years. His power to control Earth could kill someone if he miscalculates. Now an Elemental Guide has it in for his family, and he's all that stands in the way.
His girlfriend, Hannah, understands pressure too. She's got a child of her own, and a job as a firefighter that could put her life in danger at any moment.
But there are people who have had enough of Michael's defiance, his family's 'bad luck'. Before he knows it, Michael's enemies have turned into the Merricks' enemies, and they're armed for war.
They're not interested in surrender. But Michael isn't the white flag type anyway. Everything is set for the final showdown.
Four elements, one family. Will they hold together, or be torn apart?
Michael is my favourite of the Merrick brothers, so you can probably imagine my intense excitement when I discovered that he was getting his own book. I was flailing about all over the place, especially since his book was to be the last in the series and that is usually a bad sign because everyone dies in series finales. Unfortunately – can you see where this is going? – all of my waiting and fangirling didn’t pay off, because Sacrifice is not the book that I was expecting.
Let’s start with Michael, who was just an brilliant as I was expecting. He’s set on looking after his three younger brothers, and he will do anything to keep them safe, including working with his nemesis to hunt down a bigger threat. I loved him as much as ever, and I couldn’t get enough of his point of view. If Michael Merrick was a real person, I would marry him in a heartbeat. And to add to his flawless personality and agenda, he is also an incredibly powerful Earthbender. Uh, I mean, Earth Elemental.
So that aspect of the book was great, but the rest of it was flawed, starting with the new point of view of the new female POV, Hannah. Her story felt so uninvolved with the rest of the plot, and nothing really was happening with her, which was incredibly disappointing because all of the previous lead females have been pretty cool. I didn’t feel any connection to her at all, nor did I feel any chemistry between her and Michael when they were occasionally in the same room.
In addition to Hannah, the other female characters from previous books were only briefly mentioned. I was expecting everybody to come together and have a Battle of Hogwarts type thing where they were all involved in saving the day, but instead Kemmerer chose to focus soley on the Merricks. This seems like a weird decision to me, because the ladies had equal page-time in the previous books, and readers had grown to love them too, and I’m sure most people would have wanted to see more of them. But we didn’t. We got one or two scenes with (sometimes only just mentions of) each lady, and that was it. Then it was back to the Merricks saving the day. I wanted to see more of Becca and Layne, and I’m sad that they weren’t there. Adam, Nick’s boyfriend, was a little more prominent but even he disappeared before things really got going.
The ending was incredibly abrupt, which wasn’t helped by the fact that my copy ended at 67% and the rest of the book was dedicated to extra content. It didn’t feel like an ending in the slightest, and after the Big Tragedy happened I was expecting someone to pop out and be like HA THE THREAT IS STILL REAL but it never happened. The book just kind of faded away.
This was incredibly disappointing for me because, as a series finale, I feel like Sacrifice should have gone out with a bang. It should have punched me in the gut and have had explosions all over the place and people coming and going and dying and resurrecting, and it should have been thrilling. But it wasn’t. It felt more like a series filler than a finale, and considering the fact that Michael (aka my favourite ever) was the protagonist, I was severely underwhelmed.
I’m sad that such a great series went out this way, especially since one of my favourite characters was the main protagonist. This is often the case with series finales for me; they just don’t pack the right punch.