Wednesday, June 7, 2017

BE READY FOR THE LIGHTNING BY GRACE O'CONNELL - BOOK REVIEW



Hello everyone!

I am back today with another book review of a new favourite book, Be Ready for the Lightning by Grace O'Connell. Thanks so much to NetGalley for providing me with ane-ARC of this book for an honest review. As always, all opinions are my own.


I thought this book was going to be just a thriller, but I am so glad it turned out to be so much more than that.

The story follows the main character, Veda, in two timelines: one present day and one beginning in childhood and progressing forward until the two timelines meet. In the present day, Veda is visiting some friends in New York City and while she's riding the bus one day, a man hijacks the bus and soon it becomes a terrifying hostage situation. The second timeline focuses on everything up to that point growing up in Vancouver, her friendships as a child, her brother, Conrad who never seems to back down from a fight, etc.

Like I said, this book isn't really a thriller. Sure, there is the hijacking, but the whole situation is pretty much stretched out over the entire book and frankly, I became more engrossed in Veda's life than the bus. I'm not too familiar with hijacking/hostage taking but from my general knowledge and movies, I think O'Connell portrayed it fairly accurately. There was a police negotiator who was trying to talk the man down and the situation seemed to be well planned.

The part I really enjoyed, however, was Veda's life before. She narrates the story starting back when she and her brother were young, with their friends Ted, and brother-and-sister Al and Annie. She tells of growing up with a mixed heritage, half-Korean and half-Irish, what that looked like and how that affected her and her brother. Veda spins an enchanting tale of her life and even though there isn't anything particularly special or significant that happens, I couldn't put this book down. I wanted to see how things turned out and what was going to happen next, not because the story was thrilling, but because I was genuinely invested in the characters and their story.

For the most part, this book is set in Canada, specifically Vancouver, however, there are references to other provinces and Canada in general throughout. I don't remember the last time that I read a book that made me so excited to see Canadian references! As a Canadian myself, I was also pleased to see that O'Connell didn't just take typical Canadian stereotypes and wedge them into the story. Being a Canadian writer herself she is able to include details that didn't come across as cheesy.

I really loved this story as a whole and I'm sure there are a few flaws that I am overlooking but I think I've found a new favourite.

Overall, highly recommend!