Author: Jennifer Bosworth
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Series: Struck (Book 1)
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 373 Pages
ISBN-10: 0374372837 (Mac Teen)
ISBN-13: 978-0374372835 (Mac Teen)
Reviewed by: Emmy
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.
Quick & Dirty: Though the second half of Struck falls flat, the premise and great narrator leave a strong set-up for a series.
Opening Sentence: I don’t sleep much.
Earthquakes and storms have ravaged LA, leaving most of the population homeless. With Mia’s mother brainwashed by a powerful televangelist, called Prophet, and her brother trying to join up with the opposing cult, the Seekers, Mia’s having a hard time keeping her family united and sane. Both groups believe the Armageddon is coming. Both think they need Mia’s special ability. It doesn’t help that Jeremy, her beautiful protector, is deliberately vague in warning her away from the Seekers, making Mia wary of trusting him.
Mia’s ability to attract lightning feeds her addiction, but beyond that she’s a very relatable character. I expected, and had hoped, Bosworth would take Mia’s ability much further than she did. I felt so sorry for Mia and everything she went through as an addict, but I wanted to know how it started. My biggest problem was that the plot, such as it is, wouldn’t have existed if Mia had a serious conversation or two. She is not the most intelligent heroine I have ever read. Even Jeremy, whose good looks are really all I liked about him, gave Mia only vague warnings when the truth would have made his point for him. Honestly, the secondary characters were probably the best because they were the only ones who made me yearn to know more about them.
The aspect of Struck I really loved was that in the midst of chaos, black and white all turned dark gray. There’s the evil priest, Prophet, and his flock who are evil, but the alternative group, the Seekers, are only marginally less horrible. The religious mythology Bosworth plays with in Struck is really well done — if you liked Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons, Struck has the same kind of feel to it. Based around religious prophecies and the seventh seal, this is really where the story takes on a more paranormal vibe than science fiction. The intrigue built around these elements gave me chills and added layers to a mystery I otherwise wouldn’t have cared about. I will say, however, there was a lot of fire and brimstone — not in any preachy sort of way, but enough to make me uncomfortable enough to put the book down for a bit.
I will say that Struck has a very unique premise and plot that I think might appeal to a lot of dystopian readers. Though the plot falls flat at times, there are some great action sequences that had me turning pages. Her writing style is well balanced and easy to read; I hope the sequel gives me more cause to connect with Mia — or whoever the narrator is, it could be a spinoff — so I can invest more in the next novel.
The heat of the lightning was still burning inside me, making it impossible to think clearly. A man walked toward me with purpose… a man big enough to pick me up and toss me over the edge of the bridge. And he wasn’t alone. The mob pressed in around me, hate in their eyes. Hate and fear.
“You’re evil,” the big man said when he was a few feet away from me. “You killed that girl. You’re evil.” He said it plainly, not as an accusation, but as fact. Everyone knew it. I was evil. I was a murderer.
FTC Advisory: Farrar Straus Giroux/Macmillan provided me with a copy of Struck. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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