Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Book Review: Storming (K.M. Weiland)

Hitch Hitchcock is a man of the sky. With his shining red airplane, he feels free.

But when he follows a traveling airplane circus for their big barnstorming competition to his old hometown, people start falling from the sky. When a strange young woman named Jael falls from seemingly nowhere in front of his airborne Jenny, Hitch’s life is turned upside down with sky pirates and a mysterious pendant. On top of that, Hitch is forced to face the consequences of skipping town eight years ago. The town’s shady sheriff comes after Hitch, and Hitch’s family is none too pleased to see Hitch back either. Hitch must try to get Jael back home, and maybe, hopefully, make things right with the family he left behind.

Storming takes readers on a whirlwind of excitement and suspense in the space of a little over a week, but it’s still long enough to pack each minute of each day with something new. That was something I found interesting about the book. Each time I thought the book would be wrapping up, I would see the percentage meter on my Kindle and realize it was only 50% or 75% through and I was left thinking “ohhh there’s more what happens next?” It was a good feeling, and I was excited to see what happened next that made sure the characters didn’t get to wind down too much.

The main character, Hitch, is amazing. He develops well, and he’s so down-to-earth that he seems easy to get attached to. He seems hardened sometimes when his past comes up, but he still feels it deeply. It still hurts. Because of his moments of weakness in between his cocky grin and swagger, readers can feel his pain as deeply as he does (a confrontation with his brother gave me a lot of feels). Hitch is brave, too, and he’s willing to give of himself to help others when it comes down to it. He’s a strong protagonist with a big heart.

Walter, the second of the two POVs in Storming, is adorable. He doesn’t speak (not that he can’t, it’s that he won’t), but he has found ways to communicate just as easily, and it makes him endearing as he uses facial expressions and motions to communicate. He’s eight years old and he has as big a heart as Hitch does, but he is unsure of himself. He longs to fly, so he befriends Jael and Hitch quickly. Walter’s character develops nicely over the course of the book, and his relationship with Hitch and Jael was really sweet.

And Jael. She’s a fiery character that’s the start of turning Hitch’s life upside down, but she helps him straighten it out too. She’s stubborn, but she is also gentle when she offers advice. Since she comes from the mysterious Schturming, her English isn’t the best, but she is quick to learn. I enjoyed reading her dialogue, written to portray her accent. It reads a little slower maybe than the dialogue of the others, and it adds flavor to her character, pronouncing her accent and making her more foreign and mysterious to Hitch and to readers.

The villains of the story were well done too. I think I liked the airship pirate Zlo more than Sheriff Campbell, because the strange newness of the airship’s “world” fascinated me. But I like too how the villains have their own agendas. Zlo was an excellent villain, not afraid to do whatever he needed in order to get what he wants. The other characters in the book were lovely and quirky in their own ways, and they gives reasons to smile and feels during the story, adding color and life to the town and Hitch’s own life.

I found the worldbuilding behind Schturming fascinating too, how in one sense it seems so otherworldly, but then when readers learn more about it, it seems to kind of connect more with this world. It still retains the foreign feel to it, with its own little culture and abilities, which made it interesting to learn about.

Violence: People are dropped to their deaths from the sky. Characters brawl with each other. Airplanes crash and some pilots are killed. One character falls to their death and another is electrocuted.

Profanity: Only referenced.

Sexual content: Hitch is accused of manhandling Jael in the tomato patch. Hitch and Jael share a couple kisses.

Other: Bootlegging and other referenced shady business.

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