Enjoyable and as illogical as is dictated by paranormal-romance conventions, round two of The Elemental Series is set apart by its focus on the viewpoint of the guy.
Following Becca and Chris’ showdown with the Guide sent to kill the Merrick brothers in the first of the series, Storm (2012), Gabriel Merrick, one of the twins, here explores his connection to fire, which is reflected in his quickness to act and to anger. Quite athletic, Gabriel has opted to let his twin Nick cover for him in math, a strategy that works until a new and more demanding teacher shows up. Layne is a quiet girl who tries to go unnoticed, but by observing Gabriel’s academic struggles, she connects with him, even as her father wants her to avoid boys completely; her deaf younger brother, Simon, is almost her only ally. Gradually, both Layne and Gabriel share the spotlight in this third-person tale. Clearly, fire is the unifying theme, and blazes appear with horrifying regularity as events reveal Gabriel’s need to control his power. A lively romance blossoms, despite the usual absurd misunderstandings and defenses of the protagonists. The plot is fairly predictable, but the characters have slightly more depth and are more interesting than many in the genre, as it takes more than special powers to face their internal challenges.
For more discerning fans of the genre and those who enjoyed the previous title. (Paranormal romance. 11-15)