I know Nick isn’t Aang, but that was how I had to describe him to my friends because that prospect excited me so much, okay?
And it still excites me because it was pretty well written.
Nick Merrick, one of four Elemental siblings, has more than just his air manipulation powers to keep secret; he’s gay. He’s got the hots for his cover-story girlfriend’s dance partner, but not the guts to come out even to his own twin. But tension rise between Nick and his posed girlfriend Quinn as not only is her situation at home worsening, but she’s hanging out with a sworn enemy of his family. Not to mention Nick trying to prioritise protecting his family in case a bloodthirsty Guide comes around over his own wants and dreams…
This story the more that I read it felt personal to Nick rather than the overarching plot of the Merricks vs the Guides. Am I saying it’s a bad thing? Kind of, but kind of not. It only really made an impact at the start and the finish. In the previous book, Spirit, the Guides were front, centre and a threat the entire time, ready to wreak havoc on the Merrick brothers and their allies. Here, they were established at the start to be there and then popped out of their hiding hole at the climax. There was barely a presence of them there for them to be so close to the climax of the series. It felt disappointing that the Guides weren’t really covered in this book. In fact, the Elemental side of things was hardly tied to it at all. Just kind of flavour.
Regardless, the intimate story that was there was done incredibly. The romance between Nick and Adam was downright magical. Kemmerer just does romance so well full stop! I can strongly say that my list of OTPs is very small. Nick and Adam – Nidam? – was just added to this list. They compliment each other so well and their relationship just felt so real and safe and pure. The emotions and language used made me feel so damn warm inside, no wonder I was shivering on the cold dank bus while reading this!
More on Nick, after reading this story he’s become my favourite of the brothers so far, if not my favourite character of the whole series. I feel like this book was also titled very appropriately; Secret. It was a key theme to Nick’s development; the secret that he’s an air elemental, the secret that he’s gay, the secret that he wants to move out of town. All of that was well reflected on his fear of going against what society expects him to be. Though it went so specific, it was a struggle that still felt universal and real. I understood him well solely on how he was written, how rooted he was in his fears. I feel like society is an obstacle for all of us to overcome. We often forget to look at ourselves, and I’m glad we saw that in Nick.
All that said, I started this series in 2017 when I read Storm in Year 12. Now it’s 2021, and you bet Sacrifice is only 4 more books on my TBR pile away. 5 years. 5 books. We’re on the home stretch now, Merricks. Bring on the final installment of the Elementals series!
Secret gets a score of 3.5/5. Chances were lost to tie the world to the plot better, but the plot was still something fantastic without it.
Yours in writing