For an adventure book, surprisingly nothing happens in Storm

Having never read the Pendragon books, I didn't know what to expect when I picked up SYLO by D.J. MacHale.  Well, scratch that.  I know I didn't expect to like it.  But I did.  How's that for mind-bending?  After all the action and EXPLOSIONS and BETRAYALS in SYLO, I was pretty excited to finally get around to reading Storm.

I made it three hundred pages in before I gave up.  Oh, and there was more to come.  Supposedly.  Especially considering that pretty much nothing had happened in three hundred pages.  Come on, dude.  That would be like having a two-hour long action film wherein the characters spend ninety minutes just looking at each other.

Really, I haven't much to say about this, because there's very little to go on.  Sure, the book was filled with words, which came together to make sentences, but nothing stuck together to form something that's very, very, very crucial to a book (unless you're Proust or Calvino, in which case, carry on): THE PLOT.

There may be some misconceptions about the definition of "the plot."  Some people would say, "Well the plot means stuff happens."  No, no, no.  A plot is when stuff happens for a reason (possibly unknown to the reader) to move the narrative along.  Generally, most readers expect to be led (by the plot) to some sort of resolution (or, if you're reading a series, a cliffhanger).

So, I'll acknowledge that stuff happened in Storm.  But it was all inane.  I skipped to the end and easily half of the book could have been chopped to get from point A to point B.

What kind of stuff happened in Storm?  Well, let's see.  Tucker, the narrator and de facto leader of the group of teen survivors of Pemberwick Island, argue for a ridiculously long amount of time about what to do next.  Our cast of merry survivors includes Kent, the jock; Olivia, the pretty-pretty rich girl; and Tori, the emo girl with Issues.  After finding out that Portland has been destroyed by the crazy light weapons that make people disappear, they hole up in a hospital where they (conveniently) meet a doctor and her assistant, Jon.  Jon has been listening on the radio to a broadcast that's pretty choppy, but our plucky survivors decipher it and realize it's a call for all survivors of the war to come to Nevada.  Olivia wants to go to New York City to see if her mom is still alive.  Kent wants to go to Boston to see if it's been destroyed.  Tori wants to go to Nevada because she has nothing left but vengeance.  And Tucker is a man with a mission.  That mission is REVENGE for the death of his best friend.  O-kay.   So they argue forever about where they should go: Boston or Nevada.

NEWSFLASH: In order to get to Nevada, you'll have to go through Boston if you're coming from Maine.  Unless you want to drive across Canada.
How normal people would get to Nevada

 Instead, they keep making these weird detours like going to Kentucky!  And then Tucker is seen naked!  And he tells Tori that he loves her!  And he's fourteen years old!

I just ... can't.  Why should I care about the continued survival of the human race if they're all going to end up as stupid as these characters?  There's no sense of menace here.  Bad guys come and go, but you never feel that they are really a threat.  Maybe if the author were less interested in writing entire chapters of navel-gazing by the protagonist, we would actually get to Nevada!

Although, no offense to Nevada, but if you were the survivors of a surprise war with near-alien technology, why would you choose to gather in a state that is pretty much all desert?

Oh, right.  Then you can bring Area 51 into the plot.  My bad.  Was trying not to be cliché.  Failed.

If you liked SYLO, do yourself a favor and just write your own sequels in your mind.  They'll probably make a lot more sense than this doorstop does.


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