Thursday, May 10, 2012
Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012
YA Paranormal Apocalyptic
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I wasn't too sure about the idea of a lightning addict but after some early reviews mentioned the presence of cults, I was one-hundred percent sold on this book. I love reading about cults-those kinds of books are made of win! And there are actually two cults in this book, with opposing agendas but similar methods. The circumstances that have given rise to the cults make perfect sense; after an earthquake that destroyed ten square miles of Los Angeles and its environs, many are dead or severely injured and chaos reigns. Turning to a man claiming to be a prophet who can heal and predict the future is an entirely plausible reaction. The other cult is much smaller but also requires obedience from its members and speaks in similar language to the first cult. But both desire the presence of our main character Mia Price.
Mia is one of the "lucky" survivors, living with her brother and her heavily drugged mother who spends her time watching the Prophet on TV in an effort to cope with her experience during the earthquake. I love when characters are fiercely protective of their families and really identified with Mia as she struggled to make some tough decisions. I didn't always agree with her but reading about her justifications in regards to taking care of her family, I could understand them. The other element about Mia is that she has been struck by lightning multiple times, leaving her body below the head covered with tell-tale scars and filling her with mysterious powers that are highly desired by both cults. Their efforts to recruit her and her attempts to resist drive the majority of the plot.
Each cult is clearly defined but their goals are shadowy, something Mia tries to investigate. I did get a bit confused with the paranormal powers possessed by the different members but I think I got what was important. While the book didn't end in a cliffhanger, there does seem to be the possibility of another book, which I would be interested in reading.
Another element (and a disappointment for me) was the love story. While I loved that Jeremy wore glasses (yay for spectacles!), I didn't feel that he had much of a personality nor was I sure about why Mia was attracted to him. I actually really liked militia man Brent (who has a taser!) much more in the few scenes he had. Jeremy's history is revealed more toward the end (although I figured out his secrets way before then so you might too), which filled in more of his personality but he still reminds kind of a cipher for me and therefore not swoonworthy.
I would have liked to have more of a sense of what was going on outside of L.A. We are told that people are fleeing the area but are they going to a better situation? How has the rest of the US been affected by the disasters here? I understand keeping the focus on Mia and her life but I would have liked a bit more information about this.
Overall: A solid debut with some exciting action scenes.
Cover: As a fan of covers with pink and/or a pretty dress, this isn't very appealing to me but I do think it captures the novel in a way that those elements would not.