Sunday, February 23, 2014

Struck (Struck #1) By Jennifer Bosworth

Review By Jacey.
Mia Price is a lightning addict. She's survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction.But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn't who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.  

When I first picked it up, this book earned about fifty points for originality within the first two pages with the curious and simultaneously powerful statement, "My name is Mia Price, and I am a lightning addict." Not only have I ever heard someone desiring to be struck by lightning (unless it's been a pretty rough day) the fickleness of lightning itself is something that has terrified me for years. Though Atlanta is by no means the south, I still remember stuffing my ears shut as a child and gazing out our porch window as lightning snaked along the roof, creeping closer to the wooden rails that would surely alight and burn the whole house down. So I guess you could say originality and terror drove me to read it. All 373 pages of it. For its better parts and its worse parts.

I'll start with the better; Bosworth sets up an incredible pre-apocalyptic atmosphere; though LA has been pretty much been blown out off the map, its survivors limp along,trying move past the overwhelming loss of life. The struggle for normalcy is palpable and the circumstances, if a major city had been decimated, pretty realistic. There isn't one united struggle to rebuild civilization, no one can really afford to save them as the rest of the world is busy trying to save itself. Most people just want to look after themselves and their loved ones, which realistically would come first to anyone in a pre-apocalyptic setting. Also, as a huge fan of sci-fi, I kind of loved how Bosworth intertwined science, religion, and mysticism in this novel. After the first hundred or so pages, I realized what she was doign and I mentally congratulated her for being able to pull it off without coming off too muddy as some sci-fi apocalyptic writers would. Additionally it definitely reignited some memories back in bible class. I know a lot of people didn't really like Mia all that much as a Heroine, but I actually loved how much she cared about her family and looked after them. Plus, her mom had to to be one of the best developed post-trauma character I've read. Scenes between Mia and her mother brought me to tears several times.

And yet, there was the whole not-knowing-what-the-f***-was going on bit. The setting was fantastic, the action was compelling, which was probably why it read so fast. But instead of being slowly and subtly fed answers through the book, such as "who are the seekers? do they brainwash the same way as the prophet does? Why does Mia hate them so much if they want to stop the world from ending?" I mean, I appreciate plots were there are no bad guys, but instead of focusing on Mia, I felt that half way through the book Bosworth focused more on Mia just running away from either of them rather than explaining what exactly they were about. Furthermore, we never really found out why the hell Mia's lightning abilities came to her, what and who she is exactly, and most importantly, where the HELL does Mia stand in all of this? She never really does pick a side. Just Jeremy. Which is sweet...but seriously look at the bigger picture, girlfriend. There were just too many unanswered questions in this book that though the action was excellent and the first half enjoyable, it just fell flat by the time to fulfill the "prophecy" came around.I definitely think if this book were work shopped a bit more, even just a few informative paragraphs here in here explaining some of the workings in the book, it would have been more enjoyable and less vague. I'd recommend it if you're into an interesting combo of religion and sci fi, definitely some interesting action going on, but don't expect too many answers for some very important questions. If a second one comes out, I'll be definitely giving it a look, but only to glean some solid facts about what the hell I just read.