This is a wonderful storyline with creative and well prepared characters and stellings. However, perhaps just a bit more prewriting could have been helpful. There is much to gain from the opinions of others as well.
I really enjoyed this dystopian young adult novel.
The setting is 150 years in the future. There has been a great disaster including a huge tsunami that destroyed much of the east coast of America. Much of the landscape of the novel contains the rusted ruins of a great city.
Selah is our heroin. She is about to turn eighteen and is on the shore one day when she sees one of the small boats that come from afar lands. The people that emerge are called Landers and there is a high bounty on their heads. When Landers emerge from the broken boats they are somewhat dazed and can be easily captured. Selah, wanting to prove to her brothers that she can hunt too, captures the man. She touches him and that changes her life forever.
This novel has a little bit of everything in the future. There is a huge underground city where people live and work free from the once deadly elements in the air. Also in the mountain are scientists using the Landers for experiments, paying a good price for live ones. The poor people on the coast use wagons while the people of the mountain have futuristic flying machines. The Lander Selah rescued has special powers, such as in healing minor wounds and mentally connecting with others of his kind.
I found Selah to be an interesting character. She is portrayed as not liked by her family except her mother. As the plot progresses, we find out why her father and one brother have hatred for her. She is a teen heroin who feels she needs to prove herself to her family and the world.
There is no overt Christianity in this novel, but this is just the first in a series. There is reference to the Presence and I hope that becomes clearer in the next novel.
While the main character is female, I think teen guys would like the book too. There's lots of fighting and action to keep them entertained. There are some gory parts too, so this book might not be appropriate for very young teens. At the end, we know there is going to be much more to the story. The adventure is just beginning.
I thoroughly enjoyed Calhoun's writing style. I breezed through the novel quickly and am looking forward to Lightning.
I wanted to like this book, but was extremely disappointed. First of all, I have to wonder what the publishers hoped to accomplish by marketing it as Christian fiction, because it certainly is not - it's New Age (a distinctly anti-Christ movement). I would never have read it had it been correctly marketed. Beyond that, though, it has a number of significant problems.
The writing is decent, and the dystopian world does have some unique features that add interest to the story. But the author relied too heavily on modern U.S. topography, geography, and culture, rather doing the work of serious world-building. There are inconsistencies and the world is incomplete, as though it was developed only enough to provide a backdrop for the plot, rather than fully developed to seem like a real place. The characters are superficial, trite, and predictable - like paper cutouts with different physical characteristics and abilities to make them distinguishable. They're also flat, failing to develop in any meaningful or significant way.
There are a couple of "romances" which are just plain unbelievable. Characters who don't like each other and have completely incompatible personalities become extremely attached to one another on the basis of physical attraction alone. Sexual tension is hardly any kind of basis for love, nor is it even a significant connection. There were many eye-roll inducing passages I finally just skimmed until I was past them. I didn't care much about the characters, and I certainly didn't care about their tingles and frissons.
It is, at least, pretty clean and the society has a strong morality. The plot is also moderately interesting, and the pacing is one thing I can say is quite good, and the only reason I pressed forward to finish the book (along with hope against hope that the book would somehow pull off some kind of amazing turnaround, which it didn't). There's a place for formulaic, plot-driven science fiction - I just don't personally like it much. If you do, you will probably enjoy this book. But if you want 3-dimensional characters with complex relationships, or are looking for genuine Christian dystopian fiction, I recommend The Restorer (Sword of Lyric series) by Sharon Hinck.
The promising first book in a new Dystopian series. Calhoun takes us 150 years into a bleak future steeped in mystery. Selah is a captivating heroine, hovering on the cusp of adulthood. Loved the complexities in her character -- part recalcitrant teen, part warrior, part nurturer. And she's one of the biggest mysteries in the book. Her destiny is still unclear at the end -- a cliff hanger that will undoubtedly be dealt with in the rest of the series.
Thunder contains all the necessary ingredients for a successful YA novel. A complex plot riddled with twists and turns. Conflict -- lots of conflict! That leads to intense action scenes so vivid they made me wince. And, of course, first love at it's gnarliest. Lots of fodder for imagination in this read along with lots of unanswered questions at the end sure to leave eager readers chomping at the bit to get their hands on the sequel.
My only complaint is the absence of a solid inspirational thread. There are hints that I'm sure will come to fruition as the series progresses, but Thunder reads as a secular YA novel. And there's nothing wrong with that except for the fact that it is published by a major Christian publisher and because of that I expected that inspirational thread. It's why I read Christian fiction exclusively after all.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.