Mia Price is a lightning addict. As in, she’s addicted to being struck by lightning and has been hit seven times. Her body is covered in Lichenberg marks, which are red scars that look like lightning bolts, an effect of the lightning. The last time she was struck, her hair had been singed off.
As a writer, sometimes I come across a premise that is so awesome I am instantly jealous I didn’t think of it first. This is one of those cases. I started thinking about where I’d take the idea, and it’s no whether near were Bosworth takes it, but she takes it awesome places.
We join Mia after Los Angeles has just had a massive, 8.something Earthquake that has left the city in shambles. Towers have fallen, houses have been reduced to dust. Displaced people wander the streets and there’s not enough anything to go around. In the midst of this destruction, a prophet named Rance Ridley Prophet who hosts a show called The Hour of Holy Light, has taken advantage of the quake, and in fact, predicted it the day before it happened. But something odd happens to his followers, who dress in all white and walk around with strangely blank looks.
Meanwhile another group, The Seekers, tries to court Mia into joining them in order to save the world because she has The Spark. Plus there’s mysterious guy who’s watching her house, trying to warn her to stay away from both the Prophet and The Seeker. She doesn’t know what to do, and only wants to survive while total chaos reigning in the city. It’s a mess.
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth is compelling. It’s more realistic that so many dystopian books because it deals with the cataclysmic even and the direct aftermath. Mia and her brother Parker only attend school to get rations handed out to now-much-smaller student body at the end of the day. There are memorials and walls with photos of the missing and entire parts of Los Angeles reduced to Wasteland.
Mia is headstrong and smart, not easily taken in by anyone or their stories, though she does have a fierce need to protect both her brother and mother. She’s a practical protagonist, and not quick to accept the insane preachings from either side. When Jeremy tries to warn her to stay away from both groups and not get involved, she replies:
“You think I want to be involved in any of this? I don’t want people having prophecies about me, or giving me tarot cards, or trying to recruit me for Team Apocalypse.”
Team Apocalypse is the name of my next band. The narration is funny. There is a bit of romance but it doesn’t detract from the fast-paced plot or the constant questions Mia and the reader keep asking. I managed to figure out who Jeremy was pretty quickly, but I like how it’s handled nonetheless.
I’m also a sucker for crazy cult stories, true and fictional, and the Prophet was scary because it doesn’t feel that far fetched. Supernatural elements aside (of which there are only a few and lightly used), a religious leader using a natural disaster to gain followers and power isn’t exactly hard to believe.
Recommended for: People who enjoy books with dystopic elements set closer to present day. People who appreciate strong female leads who can take care of themselves.