Sacrifice (The Elemental Series) by Brigid Kemmerer

Earth. Fire. Air. Water.17149158

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? –

This is the final book of The Elemental Series and I’m sorry to see it end.  My son and I have read these books together and, throughout this YA paranormal series, I’ve been so impressed with the sensitive and intelligent way the author has dealt with issues such as the death of parents, emotional and physical abuse, homelessness, a teen struggling with his sexuality, and a young woman realizing her self-worth – all very relevant topics teens are dealing with today.   These books stress the importance of friends and family, both the family you’re born into and the family you make.

From the earlier books, I knew that at the age of 18, Michael took on a huge responsibility in becoming guardian for his three younger brothers in order to keep his family together and, although I would have liked to see more of Chris, Gabriel, and Nicholas in this book, this was Michael’s story.  Michael has always shown strength, but being in his head was very stressful – he has the responsibility of caring for three teenage boys, running the family business, maintaining a relationship with his girlfriend, and even more importantly – keeping all of them alive.  He’s under an incredible amount of pressure and in this book, we see his life start to fall apart.

Hannah, Michael’s girlfriend, doesn’t make his life much easier, and I was disappointed in her character.  I would have expected more maturity from someone with her life experience.  On the other hand, I also would have expected Michael to have included her in the circle of trust regarding the family secrets much earlier.

Sacrifice was full of action and twists and a couple of times I thought I knew who the antagonist was, but it was a complete surprise.  The ending seemed a little abrupt and left some things unfinished, but I’m hopeful the author may return to these characters in the future.

Sacrifice is scheduled for publication September 30th, 2014.  This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.