Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Mia Price and her family moved to Los Angeles because lightning rarely strikes there. Mia is a lightning addict and has been struck countless times. Red lightning scars cover her body, a mark of each strike. A huge earthquake hits LA, leaving devastation in its wake and thousands of people displaced, injured, traumatized, or dead. Mia is trying to pick up the pieces of her family and make them whole again. Her mother is practically catatonic and her brother is distant. She and her brother go back to school to get rations from the government and they are approached by two different cult-like groups: the Followers of the Prophet and the Seekers. Both want to enlist Mia for their cause and are kind of creepy. The Followers and the Prophet paint themselves as God's chosen ones and claim to know the exact date of the end of the world. The Seekers want to stop the Followers. Mia just wants to be left alone to pick up the pieces of her life, but she gets sucked into the two cults' conflict anyway. Which side will she eventually end up on?
I really like a lot of the concepts in Struck, particularly the warring cult groups, the setting, and the supernatural aspects. Religious fanaticism is one of the scariest things in the world to me. Anyone can interpret religious texts to say whatever they want and manipulate a group of people into doing insane things as a result. The Followers and their blank, serene stares and their all white clothes are just creepy. The Seekers are slightly less creepy, but not by much with their brands, masks, and red cloaks. People in this book and in real life do the most horrible things in the name of religion and it makes me sick. This aspect is by far the most disturbing thing in the novel. I love the setting in Los Angeles. It's one of my favorite cities and I have been to most of the places she talks about, so I can easily envision how it would look all ruined and post-apocalyptic. The supernatural aspects like her affinity for lightning and the powers of the different groups are unique and never really explained. I enjoyed that it was simply a part of this universe and a different kind of power than is typical.
I have a few problems with the novel. First of all, Jeremy is plain creepy. A guy trying to kill you in the night with a knife is a not a cue to ask him on a date. News flash: abusive, dangerous guys are not sexy and never will be sexy. Please stop writing them this way. Mia had a lot of decision making problems throughout the novel that were kind of annoying. I also just felt that there was something missing in the book. It was all pretty straight forward and the ending fell a little flat to me.
Overall, Struck is a fun YA dystopia that brings in elements I haven't seen mixed together like creepy cults, lightning and energy powers, and LA in ruins. I would definitely read what Jennifer Bosworth writes next.
My rating: 3.5/5 fishmuffins
Read as part of Dystopian August at Presenting Lenore.