by Jennifer Bosworth
Plot Summary:Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.
Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.
Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.
Review:The story starts just after a major, catastrophic earthquake struck Los Angeles and for someone who lives in L.A. that was a real downer. I have to say - with no negative reflection on the quality of the book - it was a little difficult starting this read because it all hit too close to home. Thankfully, because it takes place after the quake, the book largely deals with the recovery. And this rehabilitating city that the author creates is very well-thought out and realistic. The idea of religious fanaticism taking such a stronghold on weak, scared individuals makes sense. And very smartly there is a counter to that sensibility - wild partying and living in the moment. I feel like the world-building is so vivid and real that it made the dangers for the main characters equally so.
Mia Price is a great strong protagonist - she must take on all the responsibility in her family after the devastation, and in addition to feeling like a freak because of her attraction to lightning, she has a rather large chip on her shoulder and doesn't find it easy to trust or be compassionate. Her romantic feelings for Jeremy (which is disappointingly immediate) is a little jarring because she so quickly rearranges her priorities to be with him, and although Jeremy is a great, mysterious character, I didn't really feel invested in their romance. It was a little too superficial for me. There is a great twist to Jeremy's character however that I really enjoyed.
With the second big storm coming, the story is framed by a countdown to this storm that works excellently to keep a fast pace, and a great sense of foreboding. Because Jeremy has visions of the future and we are continually told what is going to happen, I loved how things were turned around in the end, and how expectations were twisted around with context. Mia's family also goes through a great arc of emotions that I felt was very touching. Overall, I think this is a great read, for the strong protagonist and the new interesting world-building of the lighting struck, that isn't wholly explained in my mind but leaves room for more in the series.