This is a book I actually put off writing a review forand hopefully I can explain why in the following. What was so unusual about this book is that one moment I really, really liked it- and then another moment Id find myself thinking, What the heck did I just read?
There were moments when I felt the book was really good, and then it would go downhill for a couple chapters and then pick back up again. I guess what confused me the most was that there were a lot of plot elements I wasnt expecting- despite the whole weird-symbol-appearing thing, I just supposed that it would be a typical what-if real-world dystopian, but there were fantasy-type elements too. I ended up really liking some aspects of the fantasy bits, but other times it just didnt work for me.
I also ended up liking a character who (of course) died. I have a really bad track record with liking doomed characters. Its not even funny.
Maybe the reason that Im at a loss is simply because there were moments and bits that I really liked, and then parts that turned me off. It was an odd mix of images and plot devices that almost reminded me of a fantasy or fairy tale, and then other times it was an action/survival story. There were two different main locations that the POV switched back and forth on, and in some ways they seemed like two totally different worlds that didnt go in the same book.
However, when all is said and done, I am going to read the next book. I know- I cant decide if I liked it, but I know I want to read more. So maybe thats my subconscious telling me that I did, in fact, like it?
I received this book for free from Revell in exchange for my honest review
Edifying (yet really fun to read) Young Adult Fiction
September 28, 2014
As a busy and blessed homeschooling mom, it's not often that I finish books. But as the good people at Revell publishing gave me a free e-book copy to read and review, I found myself driven by obligation at first, and then drawn in with the sheer cool-ness of the book to keep on going. So, what ho this magical printed product that kept me reading to completion, when there are stacks of parenting, homeschooling, feeding a large family on a budget books, not to mention several classics I feel obligated to have read someday, beside my bed whose bookmarks never seem to budge past chapter two? It's called Thunder by Bonnie Calhoun, who is a regional director for American Christian Fiction Writers, among many other impressive bonafides.
Thunder has just enough of a sci-fi vibe to entice fans of that genre; but not so much as to turn away those like me who are not enamored of such. Calhoun transports readers to a post-acolyptic America, and introduces us to several fascinating and complex characters who are scraping out survival many years after nuclear war has devastated the land, the food supply, commerce, and human interaction. There are two general groups of people whose ways of lives couldn't be more starkly contrasted; those affiliated with The Company, who make the most of technology and scientific research, and the country folks, most of whom would earn the respect of even the most ardent prepper. The characters we follow on both sides struggle with the ethics of their respective modes of survival, and there are sympathetic protagonists to balance out the unlikeable antagonists throughout.
We meet the main character, a young heroine named Selah Rishon Chavez (all three names are very important!), on the eve of her 18th birthday as she is betrothed against her will to a man handpicked by her father. She not only gets out of this unwelcome union, but soon finds her whole world, nay everyone and everything she thought she was, completely turned upside down.
There's just a touch of budding romance, portrayed in a very classy and subtle way. There's action galore, and oh, the intrigue! You might even pick up some survival skills along the way! There are secret identities and those who are as ashamed by them as others are proud. There are major ethical quandaries. There are heroes and villains. There's a battle between good and evil. I guess you could say, there's just about something for everyone here.
Calhoun weaves a thread of the Christian faith in a masterful way; I think that was one of the things that made my struggle to put it down (I had to. These pesky kids want to eat three times a day.). You know how some Christian fiction is so, well, awkward with the way it portrays spiritual truths or principles? Kind of like "we know we gotta stick this stuff in here, so, um, here it is..." You know what I mean. Like when you're around certain Christian friends and you find yourself using more spiritual lingo than you do around others, just because you feel like you should? Am I the only one?
Here's where Calhoun really impressed me, particularly as this book is aimed at young adults, a demographic that will sniff out cliched Christianity in a heartbeat. I would highly recommend this book (and the author in general) to young believers and non-believers alike. The former will be blessed by the spiritual gems they find within; the latter will be intrigued to consider more deeply the same.
As the book came to a thrilling (and sequel-insuring) end, I was thoroughly glad I read it and can't wait to see what happens next.
You should read the short prequel, Tremors, before diving in. It provides important background info - and it's a free e-book download!