Tuesday, October 7, 2014

"thunder" by bonnie s. calhoun

Tired of waiting for the next Hunger Games or Divergent film to release? Bide your time with Bonnie S. Calhoun's entry in the YA dystopian genre, Thunder.

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 quarry--a Lander.

These people from an unknown land across the ocean are highly prized by the Company and bring a good price--especially 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 Lander's 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 her--Bodhi Locke, the Lander her brothers hope to sell in the Mountain.

With evocative descriptions of a strange new world that combines elements of disturbing scientific advances, devious political conspiracy, and survival in a hostile wilderness, Bonnie S. Calhoun weaves a captivating tale of a society more like our own than we may want to admit. From the tension-laced first scene to the captivating last page, Thunder is an epic journey into the heart of humankind that explores how far we are willing to go when we're pushed to the limit.

Thunder is a teen dystopian novel in the vein of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy and Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy. It also bears similarities to Krista McGee's excellent Christian trilogy, the Anomaly series (which is probably my favorite YA dystopian series).

I really enjoyed the main plot of Thunder—Selah trying to find her father and learn who she really is. Her relationship with a young girl she meets on her way to the mountain is really endearing, and I appreciated the growth in her from beginning to end.

I did feel that a few too many characters were focused on throughout the novel: Selah, Bodhi, Selah's brother Cleon, the leader of the Company (the Mountain's "government"), his wife, a rival scientist, a lab assistant, the head of security, etc. I had no trouble keeping these people straight as Calhoun did an excellent job of character development, but I did feel overwhelmed with information. I think if Calhoun had focused on just two characters (Selah and Treva, the lab assistant) and let the events unfold from their perspectives, I would have stayed more engaged with the story throughout the novel.

I also think it's worth mentioning that, while Thunder is published by Revell, part of the Baker Publishing Group, it doesn't really have any spiritual content. I don't think that's a bad thing, but someone who purchases a book from a Christian publisher will probably expect it to have a Christian message. I have no idea what's in store for the rest of the Stone Braide Chronicles, and I wouldn't be surprised if Calhoun brings in spiritual content along the way. Even if she doesn't, there's nothing wrong with that. I just don't want you to purchase the book expecting one thing and finding another. (Isn't that the worst?)

I really did enjoy Thunder, and I'd love to continue the series. Teens (and adults) who enjoy dystopian novels should definitely check it out. 3-1/2 stars.

Content note: This novel is action-packed and violent ... probably on par with The Hunger Games. Again, not a bad thing, as long as you know what you're getting into. I would have no qualms giving an older teen this book, but I probably wouldn't give it to a 7th grader. Think PG-13.

Buy the book.
Watch the book trailer. (Definitely one of the best book trailers I've ever seen.)
Read an excerpt.
See my review of "Tremors," the prequel novella. (Get it free here. )

Bonnie S. Calhoun loves to write, but it doesn't make her happy unless there are the three B's: body count, blood, and blowing things up. She also has mad skills at coding HTML and website design. Bonnie lives in a log cabin in the woods with fifteen acres and a pond full of bass. But she'd rather buy fish, ready to eat and under plastic, at the grocery store. She shares her domain with a husband, a dog, and two cats, all of whom think she is waitstaff.

To see an exclusive video trailer and to get more information on the Stone Braide Chronicles, go to www.BonnieSCalhoun.com.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell through the Revell Reads program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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