Friday, April 11, 2014

Book review: Secret by Brigid Kemmerer


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.


NOTE: I received the ARC via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

To be honest, I was a little weary to start reading Secret. I'm not into books where the romantic relationship is between people of the same gender. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against such books, they're just really not my thing.

Still, I love this series and Brigid is such a talented author, I was in for it from the very first book.

Writing style:
It was close to perfection. Neat, completely immersing and intoxicating.

Story line:
The story in Secret revolved completely around Nick's and Quinn's secret lives. How they clung to each other, and how they drifted apart. Their separate romances and so on.
I was a little boggled by this because the story, as relating to the entire series, didn't really move on much. There were really just a couple of scenes when the Guides made an appearance, but other than that, nothing. It was a bit disappointing to be honest. Not that I got bored by Nick and Quinn's internal turmoils, but still.

-being different
-fulfilling everyone's expectations except your own
-fear of seeing disappointment in the eyes of your loved ones
-having no one to lean on is scary, but leaning on someone could be even scarier
-not seeing something (or someone) doesn't mean they're not there, watching your every step.

Garth Brody is a brutal Guide. More ruthless than Silver, who we met in Spirit. I expected to see more of him than just the two-three scenes, but no such luck.

Nick, the chivalrous, gentle twin. The one who always tries to be who he's needed to be. The guy who has no idea who he really is. When he finally figured it out, he was scared witless that his family will kick him out.
To be honest, I never imagined (from the previous novels) that Nick could feel uncomfortable in his own skin, but there you go. He's a super cute, smart guy, with selfless attitude and no self-assurance.

I liked Chris for his brotherly love and support. He was among the first to figure out Nick's secret and show his acceptance. He told Nick "I'm sorry you felt that you have to keep it a secret." It totally warmed up my heart.

Now Gabriel is another story. I totally loved the dude and his macho attitude in Spark. He's by far my favorite Merrick brother, but he can be such a douche-bag sometimes. And to his twin brother too!

Michael surprised me with how understanding he was. He said he had been expecting it, which besides everything else means that he was sort of paying attention even with everything else that was going on in their house.

Quinn isn't really all that bad. I did like her character, even though at times she was just acting out. There's definitely a drama queen in there. I don't really understand why she pushes everyone who cares about her away, but draws near people who don't give 2 cents for her. It's outside of every reason, logic and understanding. And nature too.
Her family situation was horrible and she still endured it all. It was seriously messed up and I kept on trying to figure out whether she was stupid or loyal. Or afraid.

Adam... does not ring with male vibes at all. For some reason I always picture a girl whenever his name is mentioned. He's sweet and caring and has been through a lot. But underneath it, there is a tough interior.

Now it's turn for bad boy Tyler. Why's he a labeled bad boy is beyond me. Sure, he's been friends with murderous idiots, but other than that he seems cool. And of course, he's got a huge secret of his own.
To be honest, I had no idea he would be playing such a major role in this installment. Or that I'd actually end up liking and defending him. I guess just like any other person, he's complicated and multifaceted, which also makes him realistic. And that's a good thing.
What I really liked about him was that he really cared about Quinn. He called on her crap and told her off, and it was refreshing.

In conclusion:
Aside from not taking this series much further than Spirit, this installment was a page-turner. It focused on the every day life. The romance, the secrets, the internal struggle to figure out who you are really. It's a coming of age novel that I really enjoyed reading.

My rating is