Book Review + Giveaway: The Year of Lightning

Title: The Year of Lightning
Author: Ryan Dalton
Genre: Sci-Fi, Mystery (YA)
Pages: 345
Source: Author
Published by: Jolly Fish Press
Expected Publication: January 12th, 2016

Goodreads Synopsis:

When 15-year-old twins Malcolm and Valentine Gilbert moved to a new town, they never imagined that the old house across the street could bring them so much trouble. A secret machine has reawakened inside, with the power to pierce time itself.

Meanwhile, lightning storms are breaking out all over town. They’re getting worse every week, and seem to enjoy striking kids who just want to pass science class and mind their own business. When Malcolm and Valentine discover a connection between the house and the storms, their situation goes from mysterious to crazy stupid dangerous. Someone is controlling the great machine, and their purpose is nearly complete.

In a race against time, the twins must uncover the chilling plan, the mastermind behind it, and the force that’s driving the deadly storms. They’ll hunt a powerful enemy that threatens their town’s existence, and the only clues are written in the sky.


Sunday Street Team 2.0

So happy to be able to help authors! SST is definitely something I plan on sticking to. It helps authors, readers and blogger!
P.S. Like my graphic? I’m trying 🙂

Admittedly, I was kinda nervous leading up to reading this; it was my first time participating in a street team and also because this was in a way required reading. It was something I had to read because I made a commitment. And if you haven’t notice, I’m a mood reader. Which means my overall vibe affects what genre I (or book) I feel like reading and at the time I wasn’t really feeling Sci-Fi.

My Thoughts:

I was so relieved when I started reading this book and found it caught my attention despite not being in a Sci-Fi mood. There were a number of things in here that I found refreshing to see and I think thats what made me want to continue on with the book.

First of all, this was an easy read. By that I mean it went pretty smoothly which helped me breeze through it during my reading time. And as a reader who reads on the slow side, thats always a plus. The writing seemed effortless and provided just the right amount of humor in all the right places.  The same can also be said with the suspense; the book starts off with the mysterious house with no doors and while there aren’t entire pages or chapters to get your heart beating there are short scenes here and there that have you turning the page for more.

The swirling mass of darkness pinned him to the wall, hanging above the ground. It loomed closer, and smoky black wisps reached out to brush against his face. He turned away, trembling.
“Oh god,” he panted. “Please. Please, I swear I didn’t see anything. I swear I didn’t see anything!”

The thing I love about this book is how it displays familial bonds. Yes, thats right, this is one of those very rare YA books that actually remembers the parents and in this case the grandparent.
The family recently lost someone and everyone is dealing with it differently. The twins, who seem to be best buddies, lean on each other when needed and then grandma is there to give them advice.

The things I didn’t like had to do with some character relationships (more in On the Characters) and with the last portion of the book. I don’t really know how to articulate this next part but I’ll give it a shot. I felt that the last portion (strangely) was equally rushed and dragged out. I think that’s because it read as rushed with all the action and all characters like ” we have to do this and this before time runs out!” (obviously not a direct quote 🙂 ) but actually took a while to get to the conclusion of it all.

Also, you know those scenes in movies where the hero(es) are prepared to make a sacrifice and they’ll be like “I’ll do it” and someone else would be like “no, I’ll do it” ? Yeah, well, that scene went on way too long.

I’m specifically talking about [highlight to see spoilers] when Walter and Malcolm where having a standoff on who’d go and finish the job, in which Malcolm obviously won, but then sometime later while Mal is fighting with the villain, Walter comes back and is like, yet again, “I’ll do it”.  And how was Malcolm so comfortable with the power he JUST found out he had??[end of spoilers]

On the Characters:

Valentine and Mal are twins but are also really close friends despite having different interests. Their sibling/friend relationship is hands down my favorite and the best relationship throughout the book. I didn’t really care for their friends though; they weren’t a strong presence in the book. It was more along the lines of “okay they have friends. meh.” Something else I didn’t like character-wise was the romance between Valentine and John. While I appreciated that there wasn’t a love triangle, that the romance didn’t seem to shadow the plot (it was very subtle) etc., I just didn’t buy it. The relationship just seemed forced and completely unnecessary.
While we’re on the topic of John, what was his purpose? [highlight to see spoilers] What did the story gain with the twist that John was actually from the past? I can’t see that it made the story better. It was just unnecessary. [end of spoilers]

Ryan Dalton





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