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.
I am finding myself drawn to Dystopian YA lately... I'm not even sure why, maybe that is seems to be set in an alternate universe or maybe because it is about overcoming everything that has gone dreadfully wrong... I don't know. But I do know that in light of the Hunger Games and Divergent, Bonnie Calhoun has hit upon a new and different take on the dystopian scenario.
I didn't know what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed this story. Selah is a fabulous heroine... on a journey of self-discovery but in no way, shape or form is she perfect. Far from it and she knows that, but she feels a need to prove herself... and then a need to make things right... and then a need to be part of something bigger than herself. By the end she does all of those things, and the series is only beginning. I am fascinated by Bohdi and his race of the Landers and we don't know much about them by the end of the book, I have a feeling there are a lot more details to come in the next book.
I really enjoyed following Selah on her journey and am looking forward to book #2 "Lightning"!
I have dreaded for years that this day might come, and now my fears have grown fruit. There is no choice. You must leave, and do it before your father gets back.
Book: Thunder, Stone Braide Chronicles Series #1 by Bonnie S. Calhoun, Revell Publishers, 2014
Genre: Speculative Post Apoclyptic, Science Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 15+
Subjects: Human trafficking, Genetic Experiments
Summary: Catching Landers and trading them in for bio-coins is part of the culture in Selahs world. The Company up on the mountain considers them valuable and will pay good money for those who capture them and turn them in. Sick and tired of being viewed as less valuable than her brothers, Selah decides shes going to prove her worth by capturing a Lander of her own. When her brothers interfere and steal her prize, she assumes the adventure is over until she wakes up the next morning with the mark of the Landers tattooed onto her chest that is! Secrets are revealed her birth father was a Lander and consequences are given she must escape before her stepfather finds out or he will turn her in to the Company as well. Selah determines the logical course of action is to free the Lander her brothers are taking to the Company and get his help finding her birth father. Sneaking under the radar will be far from easy in this world that encourages betrayal and greed.
Notes: First in the Stone Braide Chronicles series, Thunder sets up a post-apocalyptic world that promotes a form of human trafficking primarily the selling of one group of people to the sort of government that exists. Any that show up in the area are caught and sold. Very little is known about Landers, only that they have some sort of telepathic abilities and come from across the water, from another land. The story seems to imply that they serve an Ultimate Being but any information is extremely vague. There is a comparison of characters morals but not against any ultimate standard. So consequently, there is very little spiritual emphasis in the story, just a vague hint that there might be an Ultimate Being that the main characters dont seem to know about. The Science Fiction element is strong with the genetic modifications one character finds a way to reverse aging on his mostly dead wife, bringing her not only back to life, but back to a younger age. Experiments are done on the Landers as well. Overall this book is just another post-apocalyptic story that leaves out the spiritual elements. The focus is the adventure and the setting, not conveying truth.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 1.5/5
Acts 13:47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us: " 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.' "
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Considering that I am a very fearful person by nature, I try to steer clear of dystopia. I think I've read three of them, and each one is the story of a world gone wrong.
(Remember- I'm the eight year old who stayed up one night worrying frantically that the sun would explode. And then worrying that I'd never sleep again.)
So anything set in a Post-Nuclear-Devastated America where a small but iron-handed group of elites run the show and the common people fight, kill, and struggle to survive is probably a no-no for me.
So how did I end up reading Thunder? I'm reviewing it of course. And yes, I did find it rather scary. Those mutant rabbits were really creeping me out!
My Mom asked me why kids gravitate to dystopia today. "Is it because they feel such hopelessness?"
I think part of the lure of dystopia *is* that the settings are dark, and the author gives us permission to feel vulnerable and anxious about the darkness. Yet the authors also go a step further beyond wallowing in fear- they introduce us to ordinary young people who becomes heroes.
These boys and girls help fight the evil government, their own souls, and restore balance to the world.
I think if you've enjoyed Veronica Roth's Divergent and Jill Williamson's Safe Lands Trilogy, then you'll love Thunder.
Selah is a girl determined to be as tough as her brothers, yet she's also unsure of herself when her world shifts under her feet.
She wanted to prove her worth, but now she has to risk her life to rescue an enemy.
And then she finds herself bonding with the enemy when she realizes their fates are linked.
Add in the "adolescent" emotions Selah feels (longing for responsibility, sibling rivalry, beginning to romantically "like" somebody) and this book will grab many a teenage reader.