Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Genre: Urban Fantasy/ Coming of Age
Approximate word count: 85-90,000 words
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“Erin Keyser Horn has a zoology degree from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and currently lives in Northwest Illinois with her husband and son. She did everything she could not to become a writer, trying such jobs as pig farmer, biological field tech, vet assistant, yoga teacher, and librarian. But she couldn't stay away from the writing world. She is the author of three young adult paranormal books: Eyes of Lightning (2012 RONE Honorable Mention Winner), Wings of Thunder, and River’s Edge.”
Find out more about Ms. Horn at her website.
“After a thousand years of curses, the Thunderbird’s secrets are about to be unleashed in the charming town of Galena, Illinois.
Ivy is a normal fifteen-year-old girl . . . if you consider yellow eyes and storm-chasing urges normal. Life gets even more normal when she runs away from home to find Walter Nimiki, the grandfather she’s never met. It’s he who tells her the truth—Ivy is a descendant of the cursed Thunder Clan, so the boy she’ll someday fall in love with will die young. Walter believes Ivy is the hope the clan has waited for, the one who can end the curse. Before she can learn more, a terrible accident leaves Walter in a coma. Ivy can’t save Walter without the help of three boys: Gabe is keeping a promise to Walter, Cal always knows what she’s feeling, and Dan can’t stand the sight of her. Ivy doesn’t know what would be worse—failing to save Walter, or accidentally falling in love with a boy. Either way, someone will die.”
This story started out strong. It is told through the eyes of fifteen year-old Ivy Nimiki. She is on a mission to find her grandfather who she believed, until recently, had died many years ago. The dialogue is realistic and genuine as Ivy’s plan is to find a way to her grandfather’s house and get back home before she is even missed at home. Needless to say that plan doesn’t work out.
Walter Nimiki, her grandfather, is a member of the Thunder Clan. His family owned the sacred land around Nimiki Bluff that he sold three years ago to a conservation foundation to insure the Effigy Mound culture burial site was preserved. Here the plot line ventures into Native American lore and the plot thickens. Ivy has always been drawn to thunder storms and has felt like an outcast because of her yellow eyes her whole life. She learns from Walter that her yellow eyes are a sign of the Thunderbird spirit and a bit about the curse that has been set upon the Thunder clan. Hours after meeting her grandfather a terrible tragedy strikes and he ends up in a coma.
Where this book lost me was around 30% after Ivy started school in Galena the story slowed down with details of school and the story didn’t move forward as relationships with classmates were explored. Walter’s situation was largely ignored until school was finished for the summer. A time span of about seven weeks, which I felt like was a long time for Ivy not to be seeking answers to the mystery surrounding Walter and the Thunderbird spirit. At about 75% the story picked up as Ivy realizes her time is running out to find some answers and try to save Walter.
A few other things did not make sense to me either, like when Jonas, Ivy’s father, started talking about pulling the plug on Walter. We had been told earlier that Walter was breathing on his own, he was receiving oxygen, was hooked up to all sorts of monitors, and had an IV while in ICU. Were they going to remove the monitors, oxygen, and IV’s to just let him wither away? That seemed inconsistent with the Christian religious theme that ran throughout the story. Also why would Jonas tend to the planting of the fields if he was just going to leave them and move back to Broadlands, Illinois? I suppose it was his way of occupying himself so he didn’t have to deal with Walter’s situation.
All in all the descriptive prose was well written and the characters were well developed and diverse. However, I had some problems with the flow of the story in the middle of the book. As far as the ending went, it seemed to come together a little too easily or quickly that I found it only mildly satisfying. I suppose I was frustrated that more about the curse wasn’t delved into further because it held so much weight at the beginning of the story.
Strong religious theme.
I found no significant issues with editing or formatting.
Rating: *** Three stars