Reading level: Young Adult
Size: 384 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Struck series
Source: eARC through NetGalley.com
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley(dot)com. It sounded like a really interesting premise. While it started out pretty interesting; the characters and the story degenerated into your pretty typical paranormal-type YA book. In the end it was an okay story but nothing special.
Mia is addicted to lightening. She’s been struck a number of times and has suffered some injuries but has never died from her numerous run-ins with lightening. Her, her mother and her brother live in Los Angeles now. A huge earthquake has happened and Mia and her family are trying to eke out an existence among the rubble. Her mother is out-of commission dealing with post traumatic stress syndrome caused by what she survived during the quake and is becoming increasingly obsessed with a man named the Prophet who is recruiting people to join his Followers. Mia’s brother is being pulled towards a cult-like group that opposes the Followers called the Seekers. Mia is stuck in between them and is having run-ins with a mysterious boy named Jeremy who is warning her to stay away from both groups.
The idea of humans being struck by lightening and gaining super-human-like powers from the lightening strikes is an interesting one. Having the whole story set after a huge quake which precedes the supposed end of days provided an excellent setting for the story.
The above being said I had a lot of problems with this book. Mia as a character is nothing outstanding, in fact none of the characters in this book stand out all that much. Mia is constantly warned over and over not to do things and does them anyway. The book was basically a chain of Mia doing stupid things that resulted in bad things happening. I don’t mind tragic heroines, but I have trouble reading about stupid ones.
Now lets discuss Jeremy and Mia’s relationship. Jeremy has that stalkerish like behavior that for some reason is portrayed quite frequently in YA literature. He is looking into Mia’s windows and constantly standing outside her house. That’s okay though because Mia is inexplicably drawn to him. If this instant love of Mia for stalker-Jeremy isn’t bad enough it gets worse. When Mia discovers that Jeremy was the one standing above her bed with a knife trying to kill her she gets a little angry. Does she avoid this creepy-boy? No, she falls in love with him and starts making out with him. I guess if people trying to kill you is what does it for you…but seriously what is up with this kind of relationship? Are these the kind of role-models we want YA readers to read about…seriously?
I wish I could say that was the end of the rant but it’s not. This story is basically about two groups vying for Mia’s “powers”. The Followers and the Seekers. The Followers are uber-religious freaks who want the world to end because we are all sinners. The Seekers are uber-anti-religious freaks who want to save humanity I think…actually I am not sure of their agenda…the only thing made really clear about the Seekers is that they hate the Followers. If you are religious or non-religious you will find parts of this book offensive. Personally I don’t care one way or the other, I just don’t like reading books with a overly-religion driven plotline. So yeah, I pretty much thought all the fire and brimstone sermons were a bummer to read through. I didn’t really enjoy anything that drove this story.
The book is decently written, the plot is pretty simple, but technically there was nothing wrong with it. It seems like a fairly self-contained story; everything was well wrapped-up.
Overall this book just wasn’t for me. There is nothing technically wrong with it. The characters are so-so, there is that wonderful teenage boy stalks teenage girl and she likes it thing going on (which I can’t stand), and the plotline is heavily religious but not really pro-religion (so there should be things in here to offend people from both camps). In general I was just disappointed, this could have been an awesome book…there are some really awesome ideas in here. Instead you get some typical YA themes with some lackluster characters. I would steer clear of this book and read some other apocalyptic YA like Blood Red Road, Hunger Games or Divergent.