This review also appears on The NerdHerd Reads
I didn't think it was possible for this series to get any better.
Brigid Kemmerer proved me wrong. (Don't you just love it when authors do that?)
I know there might have been some issues with Gabriel in the first book, but believe me, he completely redeems himself. Gabe controls the element fire. Or rather, he is unable to control it as of now. It tends to go out of control, matching his hotheaded tendencies. He tends to push people away, as well as act completely rude and inconsiderate. But we find out that's just an outside covering protecting himself. Gabe has been hurt a lot in his young life. Not to mention his twin brother Nick seems practically perfect, which makes Gabriel all that much harder on himself.
Then he meets Layne in his math class, who figures out he's been cheating by trading places with Nick. She offers to tutor him, and I'm sure you know where it goes from that.
Not to mention, someone has been starting fires all over town. The prime suspect? Gabriel of course. It doesn't help that he's been shutting himself off from his brothers, although he does start hanging out with Hunter more.
One thing I loved about this book was that Layne doesn't know about Gabe's powers throughout. Which means she likes him for him. Her finding out about the Elementals doesn't take forefront in the story, which was nice.
Because of that, the story mainly relied on the relationship between the brothers to carry it through, which was refreshing. Being so different, they each had a different dynamic which showed through in their relationships with each other. It was nice to see a healthy (okay, maybe not so much but still) brotherly relationship.
Also enjoyable was the budding bromance between Hunter and Gabriel. Because he's cut himself off from his brothers, Gabe really has no one else to turn to. This interested me because Hunter has always been a little more mysterious and harder to figure out than the others, so it was interesting to see him from this point of view.
And one of the best parts would have to be Gabriel's relationship with Layne's brother, Simon. Simon is deaf, and until this year, had been in a special school. He was not doing well with the transition to a public high school, and being made fun of and beat up did not help one bit. So it was nice when Gabe took him under his wing, protected him, and hung out with him. It shows a sweet side to the many layers that make up Gabriel.
I know Michael is my favorite, but Gabriel is really giving him some competition with this book. Ah, I can't decide. Hot guys. That's all you need to know ;)