Saturday, May 12, 2012

Review | Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Jennifer Bosworth
Struck #1
Published May 8, 2012 by FSG BYR (Macmillan)
YA apocalyptic
3 stars

Bite-Sized Review
Struck is a good story about the end of the world, though with mediocre characters. It's still worth a read: well-paced and exciting, with a decent sense of mystery.

King-Sized Reivew
Struck takes place not after the apocalypse but right in the middle of it. Mia, who has been struck by lighting countless times, now lives in LA, a place where it almost never storms. Unfortunately, when it rains in LA, it pours, as the recent massive storm and subsequent devastating earthquake proved. In the wake of the disasters, two groups, the religious cult of the Followers of Rance Ridley Prophet and their opponents, the Seekers (who were basically also a cult, just not religious), want Mia on their side, because the worst is yet to come, and whatever it is, Mia will be in the middle of the lightning.

Struck was a good if fairly standard example of YA paranormal(ish) literature. There's some originality here – people gain their power by being struck by lightning rather than the many other means used in other sources – but for the most part Struck similar to the rest of its kind: fate of the world rests in the hands of one person who has no idea of her destiny, love interest with secrets, powerful, unscrupulous people in need of some serious thwarting, et cetera. The lightning feature was definitely interesting and gave the book a little extra spark. (Not even going to bother pretending – that pun was totally intentional.) But it's a popular story because it works, and Jennifer Bosworth does a good job with it here. The pace of the story is good, without any dragging or confusion.

The characters weren't bad, but I didn't love them. They were just sort of there, without much personality or depth. They didn't really make me feel anything for them, which was a little disappointing. There were aspects that I liked, such as the fact that I only figured out Jeremy's big secret in a flash of intuition about 70 percent in, which is pretty much the ideal way to figure things out in books, but that's not so much a character quality as a storytelling quality. They mostly didn't really seem like real people. My indifference towards the characters was the main reason I didn't love the book, because I enjoyed the storyline and the world quite a bit.

I know some people have said they're uncomfortable with the prominence of religion in this book, but if anything, the book comes across as anti-religious; the Followers are definitely not the good guys, and, at least in my reading, were pretty clearly portrayed as worse than the more mystical, secret-society-esque Seekers. So don't let that stop you from reading the book, if you're worried about it. The story does focus a lot on apocalyptic events, but each group has different opinions of the origin of these calamities.

The apocalyptic climax does make me wonder a little about where the second book is supposed to go from here. It's the same issue I had with season 6 of Supernatural: how do you find something with more tension than the apocalypse? It's pretty tough to find a tougher time than the end of the world. But I'm sure I'll pick it up anyway, because I did enjoy Struck and I'm curious.

Quality: Acceptable
Enjoyability: Good

In the same aisle
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Shatter Me by Taherah Mafi
Cinder by Marissa Meyer


  1. Characters can be such a hard thing to pin down. Getting them right isn't as scientific as plot...sometimes it seems like an author's characters either click or they don't. I'm still trying to figure this out for myself. :)

    And about the religious and anti-religious elements: including that sort of thing in an apocalyptic story seems kind of realistic in a way. I mean--if the world actually was coming to an end, a lot of radical religious sects would probably emerge.

    1. Good point. Now what I want to see is a book about Ragnarok, with Viking cults springing up like murderous daisies ;)


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