Sunday, February 8, 2015

Audiobook Review: Storm (The SYLO Chronicles #2) by D.J. MacHale

Title: Storm
Book Series: The SYLO Chronicles, Book #2
Author: D.J. MacHale (Facebook | Twitter)
Genres: YA, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Mystery
Format: Audiobook (Amazon | Audible)
Narrators: Andrew Bates
Length: 12 hours & 12 minutes
Release Date: March 25, 2014
After a harrowing escape from Pemberwick Island, Tucker Pierce and his surviving friends—Tori, Kent, and Olivia—have finally reached the mainland, only to find that no one is left.

That’s not their only sickening discovery. Moments before they are attacked by another of the mysterious black planes, they investigate one’s wreck and are horrified to find that it bears the logo of the U.S. Air Force. This can only mean one thing: the United States is at war with itself—the deadly technology of the Air Force against the brute force of the Navy’s SYLO unit, which still holds Pemberwick Island and its residents captive.

Tucker must lead his friends to safety, but his head is spinning. How can the Air Force be perpetuating such genocide against not only its own citizens, but the world? What is SYLO’s role in this, and why did Tucker’s parents betray him by allying with SYLO, whose commander, Captain Granger, killed Tori’s father at point-blank range? And what did his mother mean when she told him to trust no one?

Tucker, Tori, and friends set off cross-country on a quest for answers and, for Tucker, vengeance. But as one highway gives way to the next—and one death-defying escape precedes another—Tucker soon realizes that “trust no one” doesn’t just mean the U.S. military.

This book was jammed pack with so much -- action, story progression, plot development and character growth. But nothing felt rushed through; a true testament to DJ's skills as a writer.

Storm contained a lot of what, I felt, SYLO lacked; that the would be fast-paced with lots of action. In retrospect, I realize that wasn't what was needed. There was a need for the slow build. Otherwise, you wouldn't really understand what Tucker lost -- his home, his friends, his identity, his world. I guess, as of fan of his other (and dare I say most excellent ) series, Pendragon, I was expecting action from the get-go. Which is what Storm delivered. So, I humbly take back a lot of the criticisms I gave SYLO and especially Tucker. 

In SYLO, felt that Tucker had a reliable narrator, yes, but not a strong enough character to carry the story and step into the leadership role with his friends. Somewhere in the midst of it all, I forgot he was 1) only fourteen and 2) extremely traumatized. Sees a literal UFO in the sky, idyllic island home invaded by the military and turned into an internment camp, his best friend is killed, his parents turn against him, he's left with "friends" he doesn't really know, surrounded by a bunch of people he can't trust and two branches of the United State Military are duking it out against each other. That's a lot of plot, so sorry McHale, I was wrong.

In Storm, you see this gradual shift of Tucker going from puberty into adulthood. Doesn't matter anymore that he's 14 years of age; he's faced too much to be in his youth. In the beginning of the book, some of the things he does are still childish, but by the end of the book his actions are calculated and purposeful. 

When it comes to his companions, I love how each of them doesn't necessarily do anything blatantly suspicious, but all of them could be a Retro infiltrator. I have to admit, I was suspicious of Olivia from the start. She just kept popping up at the right time and her personally shifted. Was she in the end, the bravest of them all as Tucker said or was she playing them from the start? Kent is just an idiotic, egotistical jerk -- or, is he a good actor? He was with Olivia from the beginning and his parents supply of the Ruby was. Even Tori's actions are questionable. With all her anger fueling her, were those little peaks of vulnerability. These characters are well crafted and keep me guessing.

I'm not going to dive deep into the plot, but at the end of this book which leads up to the trilogy's conclusion, I''m asking all the right questions. Who are the Retros and what is there agenda? What is SYLO really? What did Fithe mean he was like them? Those are questions I am really going to enjoy getting answers to. 

FINAL THOUGHTS:: As the last words were spoken, a huge grin exploded on my face. Pretty much says it all.

RECOMMENDED FOR:: For those who love science fiction/adventure read.

Andrew Bates is new to me and I thought he was perfect. It was a performance rather than just a reading, which I love. He definitely contributed a lot to my enjoyment of this story. I really thought he got the essence of the characters, the plot, and Pemberwick Island. 

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