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.
Bonnie S. Calhoun in her new book, Thunder Book One in the Stone Braide Chronicles series published by Revell brings us into the life of Selah Rishon Chavez.
From the back cover: The Time of Sorrows is long past.
The future of Selah and her people is shrouded in mystery.
And the clock is ticking.
Hidden in the tall grasses along a shore littered with the rusted metal remnants of a once-great city, a hunter crouches. It is the eve of her eighteenth Birth Remembrance and high time she proves to herself and her brothers that she can stand on her own two feet. Selah Rishon Chavez waits not for game but for one of the small boats that occasionally crash against the desolate shoreline. Because inside one of these boats she will find her quarrya Lander.
These people from an unknown land across the ocean are highly prized by the Company and bring a good priceespecially if they keep the markings they arrive with.
Everything falls to pieces when the Lander whom Selah catches is stolen by her brothers, and Selah wakes the next morning to find the Landers distinctive mark has appeared on her own flesh. Once the hunter, Selah is now one of the hunted, and she knows only one person who can help herBodhi Locke, the Lander her brothers hope to sell in the Mountain.
What exactly is the Stone Braide? To paraphrase a line from an old movie, What a future, what a future. Events happen in the present that have a devastating effect on the future. Now there are the Hunters and the Landers. The Hunters hunt the Landers and sell them for a good price. Somehow Selah turns from a Hunter into a Lander and she now becomes the hunted and it gets more intense from there. Ms. Calhoun has created an impressive cast of characters that populate the future and all of them are interesting in their own way, good and bad. Thunder delivers suspense, mystery and lots of action. I liked this book very much. I look forward to the next book in the series.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Young Adult fiction is not something that I'm usually drawn to. Young Adult Dystopian Romance is nothing that I would have ever guessed that I would read. But let me tell you that I am so glad I did.
Bonnie Calhoun has put together a fast-paced thriller that changed my opinion of this genre entirely. The story is based in a post-apocalyptic America, the east coast to be specific. It has been 150 years since the great Sorrows struck and much of the surrounding area lays in ruins.
There is a mysterious group known as the Landers that is being hunted for the bounty that is upon their heads. Bodhi Locke is one of those Landers and he finds himself imprisoned and heading to an unknown fate.
Shortly after Selah Chavez's eighteenth Birth Remembrance everything that Selah thought she knew about her life comes unraveled. To save her life she must run away from home and everyone she holds dear. The one person that can help her is Bodhi, but to gain his help she must first free him.
The reader is taken on a fascinating journey that flashes between locations and different groups of people. The story has a science fiction tone to it that adds to the mystery of what is going on. While this is definitely a romance, there is so much more to the story than the relationship between Selah and Bodhi.
This would make a great read for teens. The primary character, Selah, is eighteen so some of the scenes are geared towards that age group. I don't think that I would recommend it for a tween, but I only say that because of the overall themes. There is nothing unsavory that goes on in this book. The characters are not promiscuous or racy. But there is definitely attraction and heart thumping romance going on between Selah and Bodhi.
If you just aren't sure if you would like this book and series you're in luck. Bonnie has written a prequel novella entitled Tremors that is currently a free download for your favorite ereader. It is a great way to get a taste of the flavor of the novel. It gives background on the characters and how they got where they are and it also includes a portion of Thunder to really whet your appetite.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.