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YA, Dystopia/Sci-Fi/Romance, 373 pages, Farrar, Straux & Giroux
- Series: No cliffhanger ending, but there's definitely setup for a sequel.
- Pub date: May 1st 2012
- Disclosure: ARC given to me by Miriam Forster (not the author or publisher). Thanks!
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.The Long...
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.
Sometimes I don't like apocalypse. Sometimes when the world already feels too horrible to live in, a world even more horrible only makes things worse. Part of writing good dystopia is making sure we see the sunlight instead of just the storms. And that was my biggest problem with this book: an unrelenting attempt at darkness that bordered on ridiculous.
Bosworth wastes no time with the pre-apocalypse--we're thrust right into a post-devastating-earthquake Los Angeles, where people are starving and a mysterious plague is sweeping the city. Mia, lightning-strike survivor, is thrust into the middle of a feud between comically ritualistic and caricatured cults, full of prophecies and televangelism and tarot cards and vague threats. Love interest Jeremy fits similarly into the dystopian mold, described as a Clark Kent type, creepily obsessed with our heroine, and, of course, a relationship between him and Mia would seem impossible.
The other major problem is that there's precious little fresh material here. Everything I described above, minus the magical lightning strike powers--which, frankly, I had trouble buying anyway--could have come straight out of almost any other dystopia of the moment. The romance especially falls flat, with by-the-book conflict and resolution and no genuine chemistry to speak of. The characters seem jerky and one-dimensional, with Mia especially getting on my nerves. There's a lot more angst than pluck to be found, and while that may make them more like real teenagers, there's a fine balance between creating characters who are real and characters we actually like to read.
So much time is spent building to the climax of the book (and previewing it via plot device) that when it finally comes I was left not particularly caring about the outcome; the kiss of death for any story. In the end, I just couldn't get involved in this book like I was hoping to. It's a mediocre dystopia in a whole crop of mediocre, high-concept dystopias this year. What else is there to say?
...and the Short:
Dark and ridiculous by turns, there isn't much fresh material here. Flat characters, a flat romance, and a flatter climax all added up to a book I didn't enjoy nearly as much as I'd hoped to.
The Final Word: Not for me.