Release Date: May 8th, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Source: NetGalley. Obviously my review is honest and not based on the free book I was given.
Blurb: 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.
Review: So. Struck. Religion. Lots of religion. I cannot begin this review properly without mentioning how religious this book is. There are parts of it that are anti-religion. There are parts of it that are pro-religion. Basically, if you feel strongly about religion one way or another, there's a good chance this book will offend you at some point. I could talk about this for days. You all know how I feel about religion. And if you don't by now, then let's get it out of the way quickly. I hate organized religion, I'm an atheist, I wish more than anything that there was an afterlife and angels and all that, but I don't believe there is. Sorry. So it is very hard for me to suspend disbelief when it comes to books with religious undertones. And this book had a little more than religious undertones. It was loaded with religion from both sides: beginning, middle, and end. Fire and brimstone. The 7th seal. Revelations. Cults. The bible. False prophets and their followers. The 12 apostles. You get the picture. So if you tend to not like books that are about religion, I would stay far, far away from this one. To be fair, I abhor most books about religion. But I happened to request this one before I knew what it was really about. And the blurb doesn't say a whole lot about Christianity. I take that back. It says NOTHING about Christianity. Nothing about the bible, just cults. So it was a TAD misleading. Regardless, I read it. And here is the rest of my review that IS NOT about the religious aspects of the book.
The writing was decent but average. It was a bit on the simple side. Nothing poetic here. Just simple and to-the-point writing. It was almost a little blunt. Which is fine. I was actually in the mood for that at the time, so it worked out well for me. The imagery was pretty decent though. Earthquake destroyed L.A. and the tent version of Venice Beach were pretty cool. I enjoyed reading the setting. I just wished the story was not as religious as it was. Meh.
The characters were a bit flat. I believe they could have been developed better. That was also pretty average. The relationship between Jeremy and Mia totally didn't work for me. I thought their chemistry was nonexistent. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that he tried to murder her with a knife in the beginning of the book. Yes, I'm serious. He snuck into her room and was about to stab her in the middle of the night when she woke up. She thought she was dreaming, so she didn't really recognize him in real life, and then they start a relationship of sorts. When she finds out he tried to kill her, she's not all that concerned about it. This was frightening to me. I don't know about you guys, but I couldn't date someone who was about to put a knife in my gut. But that's just me. And yes, I'm being sarcastic. Oh, and in case you were wondering, he also watches her house at night. So he's basically a stalker too. So not sexy. I need a healthy relationship in my next young adult novel or I am going to scream. Here's some random "not sexy" quotes from scenes with Mia and Jeremy.
I let my eyes linger on Jeremy, studying him, trying to see if I could see past the knife incident to trust him." No. No you can't. No sane person would.
No! I swear I've never gone near him. You were the only one I..." His words fell away, like they'd stumbled off a cliff. He must have realized there was no good way to say, you were the one I considered murdering. How is this sexy?
And another thing. The second it was revealed that an apostle was missing, I knew what was up. So that part of the twist was so predictable and easy to figure out. This is not a spoiler, by the way. If you have half a brain, you will see it coming anyway.
Then there was the ending. It left me feeling very blah about this whole book. I hated the epilogue. I feel that all of that could have been worked into the story. It felt very amateurish to me. I am extremely irritated at the way the book ended. And unfortunately I can't talk about that because of spoilers, but I will just say I was looking for a different sort of ending and did not get it.
I enjoyed the author's writing, and I loved the setting. The book was definitely readable and parts of it were awesome. I'm referring to a few scenes that I found particularly memorable. I would definitely read more of this author's work. I just hope that next time she stays away from religion as a topic. I don't think I can read another book like this one. I think this is a series and I'm not sure how many books. But I am done. Not reading the next one. But I will look forward to whatever Jennifer writes next.