“In the high-flying, heady world of 1920s aviation, brash pilot Robert “Hitch” Hitchcock’s life does a barrel roll when a young woman in an old-fashioned ball gown falls from the clouds smack in front of his biplane. As fearless as she is peculiar, Jael immediately proves she’s game for just about anything, including wing-walking in his struggling airshow. In return for her help, she demands a ride back home . . . to the sky.
Hitch thinks she’s nuts—until he steers his plane into the midst of a bizarre storm and nearly crashes into a strange airship like none he’s ever run afoul of, an airship with the power to control the weather. Caught between a corrupt sheriff and dangerous new enemies from above, Hitch must take his last chance to gain forgiveness from his estranged family, deliver Jael safely home before she flies off with his freewheeling heart, and save his Nebraska hometown from storm-wielding sky pirates.
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Cocky, funny, and full of heart, Storming is a jaunty historical/dieselpunk mash-up that combines rip-roaring adventure and small-town charm with the thrill of futuristic possibilities.”–Goodreads
Ooo-weee. That was one wild ride!
I don’t read much steampunk/dieselpunk. (In fact, the only books I can recall off the top of my head that would fit either of those genres is the Matt Cruse trilogy by Kenneth Oppel.) Therefore, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to read Storming, both for its unusual genre, and also the high ratings it garnered from my Goodreads-friends.
Let’s start with the characters, shall we? The characters were very well developed. Nearly all of them had complex back stories and motives–even minor characters (the only exceptions being the villains). Jael wasn’t *quite* as rounded out as the rest, but part of that was to keep the foreigner feel, so I won’t take off any points. Weiland’s strong suit is definitely in writing people, because she nailed every last one in this book.
World-building: I was not expecting much of this, since #1, it is set in the real world, and #2, the setting chosen isn’t an exciting or exotic locale. However, Weiland brought Scottsbluff to life. I was totally amazed at how she used every bit of writing–dialogue, description, even characters’ thoughts–to flesh out this small, Nebraskan town. The writing style never lapsed once from keeping in character with the time period and locale. It was incredible how real and life-like it seemed! I felt like it was an actual place I could visit to see the places where the story played out. And the whimsical illustrations scattered in-between chapters were just the right touch.
The plot: I did have a few quibbles with this. The plot picked up at first, and then dragged a bit in the middle, before racing towards the finish. Instead of edge of your seat action every single minute, it was more of teasing out the plot, so that I wanted more, more, MORE. Some readers might really enjoy this–I, however, was slightly frustrated by it. I feel like if the pace could have been increased just a bit in the middle, and I would enjoyed it even more. I debated whether or not to take off points for this, and finally settled on deducting a star, because it just didn’t keep me gripped.
Conclusion: Storming was an excellent read. If you are into major character-development, and love that homey, country feel with just a touch of sci-fi, than this book is perfect for you. Readers who prefer edge-of-their-seat-suspense in their books might be a bit disappointed.
Rating: 4 stars
Recommended: 12 and up
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Content guide (may contain minor spoilers):
Language: 1/10 (“durn it” and similar phrases used)
Violence: 7/10 (violent death of a character, a bit gruesome. characters incurs serious wounds. fist-fights and beatings. one disturbing scene in which a ‘good’ main character unapologetically tries to kill a villain by beating him to death. beating people up or killing them if they’re villains is considered acceptable.)
Sexual Content: 1/10 (one character has a “love ’em and leave ’em” type of mindset, a few light kisses)
*Many thanks to the author for providing a copy to review!*
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