The Electric Slide: A Review of Michael Vey: Storm of Lightning

First of all, look at this cover art.  Look at it.  All the Michael Vey covers are pretty good, but this one has to be my favorite.  Where raising the question of whether Michael’s powers will consume him or free him took at least a chapter in the book, it’s articulated on the cover easy to see.  It’s effective uses of visual language like this that get me so excited about art.

Okay, now for the actual book.

It’s hard to review this one without spoilers, but I will warn that the plot structure is rather different from the other books.  After the events at the end of Jade Dragon, most of what the Electroclan is doing involves damage control.  There are a few fights and uses of powers and so on (and the question of whether or not Michael can control his power comes up several times), but not nearly as much as they usually do.  It’s disappointing, but frankly, they deserve a break by now.  And what we don’t get in Electroclan action Mr. Evans makes up for with events in Camp Bad Guys.  I can see where he’s going with that, and it’s going to be awesome.

The worst part was its shortness.  The best part was the epilogue.

My favorite line from it?  “Home is where they don’t want to kill you.”

Scroll on down for spoilers.

The voice is totally Michael’s dad.  No one’s said it yet, but it’s obvious.

We get to see another electric kid!  And she is awesome!

Michael loses control of his electricity during the first part of the book and ends up with permanent scarring on his arms and back.  A nurse who sees him thinks he’s been struck by lightning, which isn’t that far from the truth.  His control issues aren’t as bad when he finds out his mom is okay, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to have to deal with controlling his powers again in the next couple books.

There’s nothing more cool than having characters in a book visit a place I’m familiar with.  The Electroclan’s drive through Bisbee, the University of Arizona campus, and Zion’s National Park, all places I’ve visited, was great.  Mr. Evans did his research to describe all those places, they’re spot on.

I had one large problem with it:  It could have used a better climax.  It could have been a climax in Camp Bad Guys, but we needed more of a climax.

On the subject of Camp Bad Guys, where does Quentin having an almost-father come from?  Unexpected or not, I really like how we get to see Hatch’s Glows get some human qualities while also being still the awful creatures he’s brainwashed them to be.  I also like how they can see what a dangerous situation they’re living in (with the Electroclan telling them that every chance they get, it’s about time) but they don’t act as though there’s a different way to live, since they don’t know one.  It keeps them in character while also introducing the possibility for change.

One continuity question:  In this book, Ian managed not to get hit with a RESAT.  Go, Ian!  But, okay, in Rise of the Elgen, when Ian was stuck with a RESAT it cut off his supernatural vision and left him blind.  But in Battle of the Ampere and Hunt For Jade Dragon his vision was only slightly impaired by the RESAT.  That doesn’t make sense, since the other electric kids can barely move when they’ve got a RESAT on, much less use their powers.  So how is Ian doing it?

Care to answer that, Mr. Evans?

It was a good book.  It’s a good series.  I look forward to the next one.

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