Struck

First Lines: When you’ve been struck by lightning as many times as I have, you start to expect the worst pretty much all the time.

I’ve been meaning to read this for a while, and I finally found time to do it.  What I’d either forgotten or didn’t know was that it was a sci-fi/dystopian, right on the heels of my dystopian fatigue.  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this.

Mia is addicted to being struck by lightning; the way it makes her feel even while the electrical power could deep fry her heart makes her feel incredibly alive.  To curb her addiction, Mia and her family move to L.A.  Only L.A. is no longer a safe haven for her, after an earthquake destroys the town.  Downtown L.A. is a vast wasteland of rubble, and danger and chaos lurk everywhere.  Two opposing cults rise to power, both thinking Mia is the key to their success.  They believe Mia is connected to the freak electrical storm that caused the earthquake, and that she may also be connected to an even worse storm on the horizon.  Mia wants to trust Jeremy, the handsome and mysterious boy who promises to protect her, but she doesn’t think he is who he says he is.  What draws them together could be the very thing that pulls them apart…can they save the world before it’s too late?

While I am still suffering from dystopian fatigue, this one was ok.  It’s so vastly different from the dystopians I’m tired of that it didn’t seem to matter.  Granted, this has the same basic story: earthquake devastates the world, the apocalypse is coming, only one can save the world or destroy it.  Basically, the entire first season of Heroes.

But this whole weather element, with lightning storms and earthquakes, felt so different.  I’ve read stories with droughts and other weather phenomena, but lightning…now that felt new.  Especially since our main character has literally been struck more times than she can count.  And likes it.

Mia was an interesting character.  She’s almost an anti-hero, the way it comes off.  Because of her fascination and addiction with lightning, she’s actually quite dangerous.  (As she points out, lightning is incredibly unpredictable.  And even if it strikes her, it may kill someone else 6 feet away.)  It made her feel almost edgy and a little bit tragic.  But she’s definitely one of the most dangerous heroines I’ve read about in a while.

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding some of the characters, and it was fun to try to discover the truth.  I’m not giving names because that ruins the fun!

I will also say that I was a big fan of the fact that this is basically a stand-alone novel.  (Thank God.)  Technically there’s a prequel and the ending is just vague enough that something could be written after, but it wraps up nicely as a single book.  Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve read a dystopian that ties up all its loose ends in a single book?  It’s been so long I can’t even tell you.

Oh, and there’s also a really creepy psychological edge to this story. The kind where people fanatically think they’re right to the point where it’s scary.  Those people creep me out.  (Hence why I do not watch shows like Criminal Minds.)  I was not expecting that in the slightest, but it ramped up the suspense big time.

Were there some times when I rolled my eyes at this book? Yes.  I mean, the whole two opposing cults thing?  Very Montague and Capulet.  I’m over it.  And some of the stuff with Mia and Jeremy just seemed a bit…fated? inevitable?  While it was cute, it still came off feeling a bit cliche at times.

But overall it was different enough that I was really into it.  I didn’t know what was going to happen next.  One of the most creative and innovative dystopians I’ve read in some time.

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