{Early Review} Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Struck, Jennifer Bosworth’s beautifully crafted debut depicting a vision of an apocalypse precariously facing the final stroke from the hand of God pulls the reader into a world both uncomfortably familiar and visionary. All unbelievers face the fires of hell. The good and obedient souls wish for the the glory of heaven. 

Struck has something for everyone and held me in its grip from the dramatic start to the electric conclusion.

If you’re a reader who loves a gripping tale to read into the late hours of the night because you can’t leave it alone, this one will be just the ticket! If you delight in allusions, metaphors and sundry literary devices, welcome aboard!

Los Angeles, the Mecca for seekers of fame and fortune, sunshine and blue sky, the City of Angels loses its starry image  in a Wasteland of dust and death. A cataclysmic earthquake literally evens the playing field with life and death struggles among the various factions that rise out of the waste.  

Lightning struck the earth trembling and ripping apart the city. The one building still standing among the debris, The Tower, stands as a strong, unyielding structure, a monument to human endeavor unlike the image found in  the major arcana in a deck of tarot cards. It plays itself out  like a psychic’s reading portending an unassailable future.

Mia, struck by lighting and with the exception of her face, sheathed in lightning scars, or Lichtenburg figures, struggles to feed and care for her mother and brother. She and her brother must attend school to receive a small daily box of rations—this is where factions collide. But, without these rations, they would not survive for long in this mad city where no angels tread.

Fiercely intense, the action pummels the reader’s mind without revealing the truth that Mia uncovers in the last few pages.

The Ferals, the Displaced, the Followers and the Seekers recognize Mia for what she became, a human lightning rod that can direct fiery bolts to her therefore bringing on the final apocalypse. Followers welcome the end time, the rest look upon it as Hell on earth. What about the Ferals? Mean with their feral eyes and dirty skin, they revel in picking on weak kids. These nasty creatures can be found in any town, but the blasting of their lives into cinders of nothingness, makes them hiss with danger. The Followers, who cleave to a leader they believe speaks the words of God, are “like white doves among dirty park pigeons.” (“Dirty park pigeons” being everyone else.) Always wearing blood-red robes and black featureless masks, the Seekers (a cult, really) are led by the man of oil-colored eyes and hair, pockmarks and deeply etched lines around his mouth that brings shudders to the staunchest of hearts.

Courted by the Seekers who search for answers and beguiled by the Followers, Mia emerges among a panorama of blazing pages with fiercely powerful images. Mr. Kale, the leader of The Seekers, is described thusly, 

…with eyes the color of crude oil to match his hair… cheeks pitted with pockmarks and the lines around his mouth looked like they’d been carved with scalpel.

I shuddered when the image lobbed itself into my mind.

It’s easy to relate to Mia and her family. They’re completely dysfunctional, which isn’t a product of earthquakes, end-times and cult leaders. Mia strives to keep her family together, safe and secure from the powerful forces amassing in the city, making Struck stand out amidst the many non-stop action tomes hitting the shelves. The rise of the cult and the examination of their agenda further distinguishes this compelling debut.  

I loved the rich meaning embedded in Bosworth’s writing, particularly the parallel with T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland. 

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

 

This is how Bosworth describes The Waste where the Ferals and the Displaced roam among the ruins of L.A. Eliot’s poem speaks of rubble as,

These fragments I have stored against my ruins. 

 

The Wasteland, like Struck, stands stark and isolated.

And there are even more references to my favorite poets! Jeremy, Mia’s love interest, leaves her a note with a fragment of Robert Frost’s poem Fire and Ice.

Some say the world will end

  in fire, Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of

  desire

I hold with those who favor

  fire

Poetry nerds (Hey, it’s National Poetry Month!) will love these well executed features, while beautiful writing helps too!

Detailing a rat’s escape into a hole with “its tail whipping like a spaghetti noodle when you suck it in your mouth” doesn’t make me want to plow into a plate of the stuff, but the simile is amazingly apt and original. Then too Mia’s observation that “most people want to be part of something larger than their insignificant little selves” places this tale of a city balancing on the edge of destruction, smack in the middle of contemporary society and social mores.

The setting comes alive as L.A glitters throughout the novel like “an inverted night sky speckled with amber stars” and the Tower a building in the center of a huge mote waiting for lightning to strike it down, to crumble the City of Angels into an cataclysmic end. 

I recommend Struck to those who love a great story, finely honed writing, literary connections and an engaging read. It’s unique and beautifully crafted.

Publication Date: May 8, 2012

{Preorder Struck: Amazon | BN | Powell’s}

{Add it on Goodreads}

 


I received a copy of Struck from the publisher via NetGalley. I received no compensation or other “goodies” in exchange for this honest review.

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