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For the past five years, all Michael's life has been is stress. It's his mission in life to take care of his three younger brothers. After their parents died, he was all they had left and he would be damned if he'd let social services take them away and split them up. Fuck that. He works his ass off to support them and keep food on the table. But after one misstep, it looks like he'll lose it all. He's girlfriend, Hannah, is in a similar boat, with a 5 year old son and a job as a firefighter. When the shit really hits the fan, can they beat it together, or will this fight obliterate not only them, but both their families as well?
Character-wise, there is nothing new to say here. We get the Merrick brothers (& Hunter) in full force, fighting to stay together and stay alive. We don't get much of the girlfriend's here, but we do see a nice bit of Adam and a bunch more of Hannah. We get several chapters from her perspective. And the more I saw from her side, the more my opinion of her varied. It's clear that she is good at her job and she a good mother and she puts her son first, but I kinda wanted to smack her. She got pregnant with James at 17 and her parents have stood by her, provided for her, and helped care for her son. When she works, her mom watches James if he isn't in school. She doesn't have to worry over who is handling her sons care or pay for daycare and she seem to disregard the fact that she is beyond lucky. Her parents could have disowned her or better yet, still supported her but not had the monetary means to support her as much as they have. Her mom could work for a living, making it necessary to find a daycare that would care for James on a Firefighter's schedule, which I assume would be no easy feat. And if she really fucks up her life, she knows her parents are a safety net. Michael doesn't have that luxury. When the shit hits the fan and his house nearly burns to the ground, he has no one to call and no backup. He's home is where he runs his business from. No home = no business = no money. That's a serious problem when you are constantly fighting DSS's attempts to take your brothers. So, my opinion of Hannah is a bit difficult to interpret. I didn't love her, but I didn't hate her either.
As for the Merrick brothers, and Hunter, I still love them all just the same. It's hard not to empathize with Michael's plight. All that matters is keeping his brothers safe, period, and when things fall apart, he is beyond lost. I just wanted to hug the poor guy.
It's hard to get deep into the plot here without giving away spoilers, but it's on the same level as the rest of this series. It's riveting in a way that you can't let go of. Don't start it unless you have time to sit down and finish it or you'll be spending every spare second just getting through a few more words. It's amazing and heart-pounding and heart-breaking and I love it.
However, it can never get more than four stars from me and it will never be my favorite of the series. There is one major reason why.****SPOILER****Hunter dies. Now, I think we all know I was not Hunter's biggest fan until I read his book, but I didn't want him to die. He sacrifices his life to save Michael in a heart-wrenching way. I should have seen it coming. Everybody else has someone to ride off into the sunset with and his love interest is dead, so it's only fitting that he should die too, so they can be together in the afterlife. See this face? It's not a happy gnome face. I didn't want him to die. I hate that he died. I don't think it's fitting and I don't like it and it makes me highly unhappy. I hate character death. I HATE IT. I don't mean that light, dislike, I mean I abhor it. Fantasy worlds should allow everyone to live happily ever after. ::sobs:: I also hate novels that make me sad. If I wanted sad, I'd watch the news. I read fiction because I want happy. HAPPY.****END SPOILER***
The other reason is that it felt too short. It felt like there should be more. I understand that it was written in a way that ended the series, but left room for a spin-off. I get that, I do, but I wanted more. Part of this is due to the fact that this book includes copies of the three novellas in this series. Now, before I go further, I will say that my copy of this book is already pre-ordered (and has been for months) and I am thrilled to be getting physical copies of the novellas that I already own digitally....but...They take up a lot of space. When you're kindle hits the 65% mark, Sacrifice is finished. I went in expecting 400 pages of Michael awesomeness and got less than 300, which makes me a bit sad. Besides that, I don't like that the love triangle line was blurred. It's not really a triangle, but it plays some moments up like it will be.
Right now, this doesn't sound like a rave review. I need you to know that I loved this book and this series as a whole and I highly recommend it to people (except Kandice because the character death will make it impossible for you to love it), but I also had extremely high expectations for it to live up to. On most levels, it succeeds with flying colors, but there were a few letdowns, like the character death that prevent me from loving it as much as I could.
What I loved about it was the same thing I have loved about all the previous ones. The writing is amazing and the characters are so fleshed out that they feel very real, supernatural abilities and all. None of the characters are overly perfect, each having his/her own unique flaws. The plot is far from predictable because I didn't see that coming and that have that addictive, readable quality that pushes you to just go one more chapter. Really, Kemmerer is a very talented writer and I will be reading anything else she plans to write.
All you need to know is that this book (and this series) is that is amazing and, as long as character death won't ruin it for you, it's highly recommendable. Even if character death bothers you, books 1 and 2 don't have any serious character annihilation. On the other side, if you have enjoyed the previous books, this one won't disappoint.
****Thank you to K-Teen, an imprint of Kensington Books for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****