Friday, August 24, 2012
Author: Jennifer Bosworth
Genre: YA, post-apocalyptic, science fiction
Publisher: Farrar, Strous, and Giraux, 2012
Read for: Fun
Mia Price is a lightning addict -- the more she is struck, the more she craves the feeling. However, when strange events begin to happen around her, her family moves to Los Angeles, a place where lightning only rarely strikes. Unfortunately, this leads them straight into the path of a devastating earthquake. Now, two different cults are vying for Mia's attention and the power they believe she holds, a mysterious (and cute) stranger is following her around, and her body is sensing that there is a storm in the air.
I had high hopes for Struck. I'd heard great things about the book. I was also excited to read a book set in Los Angeles, where I will be moving in a few days (eep!). Meeting Jennifer Bosworth at Fierce Reads further made me excited to read this book. However, Struck did not pull together for me, and I was disappointed in the novel.
The one thing that is done superbly in this novel is the atmosphere. From the opening pages, there is a sense of anticipation and stress. Food is scarce after the earthquake. Violence is rampant. Mia's mother is experiencing some kind of post-traumatic stress experience that needs to be medically treated, meaning that Mia has to find medication for her on the black market. All the tension and anticipation was present at the beginning of the book, and I felt that my expectations were going to be delivered.
However, shortly after this, Mia meets a boy named Jeremy -- a boy that seems strangely familiar and that seems to be popping up everywhere. Cue the insta-love. Mia and Jeremy have a number of bizarre experiences that seem to link them together, and she describes his physical attractiveness, but the suddenness of their relationship seemed forced and shallow to me. By the end of the book, it seemed to take center-stage in the story. This seemed out of place because so much of the book focused on the apocalyptic events and the different forces pulling on Mia -- and those elements were much more interesting and believable. Basically, the romance left me unconvinced and lukewarm.
I was also disappointed in the interplay between the two cults. The two religions are essentially direct counterpoints of each other -- one dresses all in white, the other all in black; one professes to follow the will of God while the other uses more occult practices such as Tarot cards. For much of the book, they both seem evil, or at the very least not having pure intentions to work with Mia. The fact that these two groups were in opposition and fighting over Mia was believable. However, at the very end (this could be seen as a vague SPOILER so read with caution), one of the groups was suddenly shown to be "the good guys." This didn't seem believable to me because it was added onto the end almost like an afterthought. The "good" group wasn't gradually shown as more than what they seemed; they were just suddenly proven to not be evil.
I also struggled with the pacing. At the beginning, as I mentioned before, everything was tight and tense. However, portions of the middle of the book were loose and slow moving, meandering through plot points that seemed insignificant or drawn out. I think if plot events had been more tightly connected, the story would have played out more smoothly, despite the other flaws.
The book just didn't feel cohesive to me. The premise was interesting and the beginning was promising, but for me, Struck did not deliver.
Warnings: some violence, thematic situations, language, mild sexuality