I adore Kemmerer’s Merrick boys so I was eagerly anticipating the latest novel in the series, this time telling Nick’s story. After reading the e-novella Breathless earlier in the year I knew this would be a really interesting addition to the series due to Nick’s struggles with his sexuality.
Secret kicks off just a few weeks after Spirit and Breathless and Nick is beginning to face up to his secret -his feelings for Adam, Quinn’s dance partner. Meanwhile Quinn is still pretending to be his girlfriend but hiding her own dark secrets about her home life. As their problems become harder and harder to hide, both Nick and Quinn find themselves having to face up to their issues.
Secret diverges a little from its predecessors in the Elemental series by introducing Quinn’s narration, despite her not being the romantic interest (well, beyond pretending to be) to the Merrick narrator. I really liked this and seeing her story develop more. Her connection with Tyler, a boy the Merricks have a lot of difficult history with, was really interesting for me to read as previously I had only seen the Merricks’ biased view towards him (and understandably so) however Quinn witnessed a different side. Kemmerer effectively showed how both groups had their own bias and difference of opinion over Tyler and I really liked this because it highlighted the sense of unreliability in a first person narration you can sometimes forget about. In fact in every new novella or novel in this series you see different sides to every character and I love how this makes the characters more multi-dimensional, flawed and real to me. This however can be difficult as a character I previously thought I understood acted in a way that surprised me and I didn’t expect, however I can see why Kemmerer chose to go that way and also that it wasn’t entirely out of the realms of possibility.
What I love about Kemmerer’s series is how it deals with human problems with a paranormal twist, yet the majority of what the characters go through on a day to day basis is very much ‘ordinary’ drama, though the paranormal dilemmas and conflicts will make an appearance. Nick’s story of a teenager struggling with his own sexuality and the idea of coming out to his family was well handled and felt very real to read. There were some really touching scenes throughout the book and Michael and Nick’s diner scene was one I loved.
While Nick’s personal conflicts are at the forefront of Secret, the overall arc of the danger to the Merricks and other elementals builds up throughout the book to provide a sense of foreboding for the next and, I believe, final novel in the series.
My only real criticisms of Secret are fairly superficial; the word secret is repeated a lot throughout the book, which to an extent I understand as that’s the theme of the whole novel, however this became too much and pulled me out of the book towards the end. I also personally am not a fan of the cover, however as they say never judge a book by its cover.
Fans of the series so far should not be disappointed in Kemmerer’s latest addition and I personally can’t wait for the next Merrick book!
Secret is released on the 28th January 2014 by Kensington Books. I received a free egalley from the publisher for honest reviewing purposes. As always my review is honest and not affected in tone, content or any other way by the means in which I receive a book.