Author: Brigid Kemmerer (author website)
Release Date: 3rd May 2012 by Allen & Unwin
Age Group: Young Adult
Four brothers, each a powerful elemental, a community at war, and one girl caught in the middle, Brigid Kemmerer brings her A-game in her electrifying debut. Storm should come with a cautionary notice. Something like: “Severe Weather Warning: This book will blow you away.”
Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they have more power than you dream.
Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her, Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys—all the ones she doesn't want. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water—just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.
And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.
Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.
The storm is coming...
The Story:When Becca Chandler saves a boy from a brutal beating in her school’s parking lot, chasing off his attackers, she has no idea what her good Samaritan act is getting her caught up in. The boy is Chris Merrick, who, along with his brothers, is an Elemental, ‘gifted’ with the ability to control water. And that might just be the least of the surprises coming her way. It’s not only Chris’ attackers, or Chris himself, who are interested in Becca. ‘New Kid’ at school, Hunter, has his eyes on Becca, and he’s not so bad to eye back... but who should she trust? Like it or not, Becca finds herself caught up in war not just for the Merricks’ survival, but her own.
Becca and Chris, Chris and Becca…Storm wastes no time jumping straight into the action. We join Becca as she finds Chris being beaten in the school parking lot, and it escalates from there. Told between Becca and Chris’ point of view, we’re give a unique viewpoint into their world: the ‘outsider’ view of Becca, as she tries to discover what she’s been dragged into, and that of Chris, who knows what’s happening around him, but still doesn’t necessarily hold all the cards or information. Both Chris and Becca are eminently likeable, fascinating and engrossing, and both have unique, singular voices.
Becca’s not an ‘action chick’ exactly, but she’s never afraid to take action. She’s brave, curious and compassionate. After saving Chris, who is in her grade, but she hardly knows, her world is irrevocably shaken, and only gets more complicated from there. But Becca’s life is hardly simple to begin with. It becomes clear Becca has secrets of her own, and there’s a meaningful subplot to Storm in the shape of some truly vicious bullying. And this is why it’s so difficult to discuss this book. It’s not a linear love story, a paranormal, or an action-packed thriller. It’s all of these things, and it’s much more. It’s layered and nuanced in a way that renders it not just compulsively readable, but truly memorable.
It’s not only Becca who is the victim of malicious harassment; the ‘bullying’ Chris Merrick endures could cost him his life. The quietest and most reserved of his brothers, Chris is much like element he controls: calm and still on the surface—sometimes—but hiding a tumult of dangers, currents and fathomless depths below. Watching Becca and Chris step around each other is a delight. There’s an almost palpable tension between them. The two are drawn to each other, but neither understands the other, neither knows what it means. Both hide secrets and hurts, and are struggling to fight inner demons as well as the external kind. But Storm isn’t entirely Chris and Becca’s story, there is another boy very much involved, in the way of Hunter, ‘New Kid’ at school. He’s fascinating, mysterious, and he has a story as heartbreaking, intriguing and important as Chris or Becca’s. He plays a large and important role in Storm, and it feels as though his part may only just be becoming clear.
The Brothers:Where Storm truly shines is in the authenticity of its characters, in particular the four brothers at its core. There’s been a lot of buzz about how ‘swoon worthy’, hot, and amazing these boys are, and it does bear repeating. But this isn’t what gives the book its compulsively readable quality, or what makes it so utterly gripping. Every one of the four Merrick boys feels real. It’s the brotherly bond they share, the care, the tension, the anger and the banter between them that is so entertaining, and at times heartbreaking, to read. Chris and his brothers are fascinating to say the least. Enormously powerful, the boys are a natural disaster waiting to happen—literally. But they keep their powers constantly tamped down. They live in fear of a power greater than theirs, creating a fascinating dichotomy between their power, and powerlessness to defend themselves without bringing a fate worse than harassment down on their heads.
The Verdict:There’s a surprising complexity to Storm. It’s a story with many dimensions, and one that truly deserves to be singled out amongst an abundance of young adult Paranormals. It’s not one aspect of the story that shines, but a cohesive mix of all its parts, combined to make something layered, something truly unique and special. Storm isn’t about a group of brothers with unbelievable supernatural powers. It’s not about boy meets girl. It’s not about one of the first love triangles I’ve ever read and genuinely enjoyed, nor is it bullying, discrimination, grief or friendship. It’s more. It’s the way in which Kemmerer blends them all together, into a mix of colours more vivid and alluring then any one part could be on its own.
Storm is a remarkable debut. Brigid Kemmerer’s gift for characterisation and pitch-perfect voice combine with gripping story and perfect pacing to make Storm a riveting an utterly addictive read. Action packed from start to finish, Brigid’s nailed a perfect balance between excitement, romance and supernatural to create something magic. A story that is so many things, but most importantly, fun.
Books in This Series:
- Spark (Later 2012)
- Spirit (2013)