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Michael thinks, “This was likely a suicide mission. The odds of some, or all of us being killed were high. But that was true too if we did nothing to stop the Elgen. This was what our resistance was all about.”–Storm of Lighting
Storm of Lightning
Michael Vey #5
by Richard Paul Evans
The Elgen’s plans for world domination begin on the island of Tuvalu when the nefarious Dr. Hatch orders an invasion of the small nation following an unsuccessful attack on the resistance headquarters, the Timepiece Ranch. Meanwhile, the Electroclan return to America with Jade Dragon, the girl they rescued before she fell victim to Dr. Hatch’s schemes. When they learn what happened to the Ranch, Michael and the others rush there to inquire about the safety of their families, who were hiding at the base at the time of the attack.
After checking the Ranch and finding it devoid of survivors, the Electroclan goes on the run again. Their plan is to lie low until news of their families reaches them, but their period of rest ends abruptly with the news that Dr. Hatch has stationed warships from the Elgen fleet in the waters near Tuvalu. The Electroclan heads to Christmas Ranch in Utah, another resistance base, to devise a plan to stop the invasion of Tuvalu.
Meanwhile, the story shows the perspective of Hatch’s loyal electric children (Tara, Bryan, Quentin, and Kylee) as they discuss whether to rebel against Hatch, especially after he tortures Welch, a former Elgen commander, who is close to Quentin. Quentin has been Hatch’s “favorite,” but he no longer knows if Hatch’s plans align with his own.
Hatch successfully overthrows the Tuvaluan government and places Quentin in charge. Hatch offers Quentin advice on his new monarchy: “a divided people is a conquered people. . . Divisions in humanity can always be found. Turn men against women and women against men. Divide the young from the old, the rich from the poor. . . Teach them to shame others and to use shame as a tool to their own ends.” Hatch’s advice illustrates the difference between him and Michael, which is the focus of Storm of Lightning.
There is not much confrontation, and the Electroclan spends most of the book on the move, as the story focuses on Michael’s character and the effects of war. It’s clear that the Elgen and the Electroclan can never coexist, and Michael must be the one to stop them. He struggles with wanting to give up, and the fact that his power has been increasing, possibly leading to his own death. His power also gives him the ability to kill others on a large scale. While this threat has been present from the beginning of the series, Michael grapples with it throughout Storm of Lightning.
While Storm of Lightning is not the most interesting book in the series, the story discloses the next step of the Electroclan and highlights the value of hope – hope that the resistance can overcome the Elgen. While Michael’s role in the war is may be unrelatable to readers, Michael’s inner turmoil is understandable and crucial to the development of his character. Readers should pick up the next story, Fall of Hades, to find out if Michael is able to overcome his fate and confront Hatch once and for all.
- Michael and his girlfriend Taylor kiss occasionally. “After a moment, she leaned into me, and we kissed. Suddenly I felt a current of electricity flowing through our mouths.”
- Quentin and Tara have a developing romance. They kiss once.
- A Mexican gang tries to rob Michael which ends in violence. As Michael “was walking away from them, an empty beer bottle hit me on the side of my head. Fortunately, it wasn’t a direct hit, or it probably would have knocked me out. Instead, it caught me in the back of my jaw, cutting the skin beneath my ear. . . It took every ounce of willpower I had not to fry them to ashes. . .”
- The gang threatens to cut Michael, so Michael defends himself. “I spun around and pulsed, blasting the little dude so hard that his feet left the ground. He slammed into an adobe wall, and plaster fell around him as he crumpled to the ground, unconscious. . . I spread out my arms and pulsed. The force blew out from me in a shock wave more than fifty feet in diameter. When I looked around, all of the gang members were lying on their backs. Most of them weren’t moving. The tall guy was still conscious, staring at me in fear. As I started toward him, he pulled a gun. . . The guy fired six times, and the bullets flew around me, ricocheting against cars and buildings. One of the bullets hit his buddies. . . When he had used all his bullets. . . I blasted him so hard, his clothes caught on fire. Then I looked around. All of the gang members were still unconscious except for one. . . he had gotten to his feet and now raised a knife at me. . . I produced a lightning ball about the size of a volleyball. . . He weakly raised his hands to block it. It exploded on contact with his flesh, knocking him out with the force.” In the end, Michael is unsure if he killed them or not.
- Michael sees the aftermath of the Elgen attack on the resistance base. They completely destroyed the area. Michael “could see the bones of a horse in a clearing. Other than that, there was no evidence of life. Or death. It looked like those war pictures from our history books. I had never seen such devastation in real life. I bent over and vomited.”
- The Electroclan find one survivor from the aftermath – an Elgen soldier. “When I first saw the man, I didn’t recognize him as human. He was grotesque looking. His skin and clothes, which hadn’t been burned off, were charred black, and most of his hair was singed off his head. . . his injuries were so severe, it was difficult to even look at him.”
- Jack talks briefly about his brother’s service in Afghanistan. “A Taliban soldier tried to stab my brother, but my brother turned the knife on him. While my brother’s squad was waiting for reinforcements, my brother had to sit in the room with the dead man for two hours. He took out the guy’s wallet. The man had a picture of his wife and a little boy. My brother said even though the guy had tried to kill him, it still made him sad.”
- While staying at a hotel, Michael hears someone trying to break into the room when multiple Electroclan members are inside. They attack when the intruder enters. “Jack grabbed [the intruder] by the front of his shirt, then pulled him forward, slamming him face-forward onto the ground. I pushed the door shut with my foot as I grabbed the man’s leg and pulsed. His body went limp.”
- Hatch threatens to flog the Tuvaluan people if they disobey his new laws. He also says that the citizens will be sent to “reeducation camps.” Hatch also says that those who don’t accept reeducation will be imprisoned and branded as fools to be publicly humiliated and punished.
- Due to the former President of Tuvalu refusing to bow to him, Hatch has him punished as a public display. “You will be stripped of your clothing, bound, and your tongue will be cut off; then, for the rest of your life, you will be kept in the central square in a cage with monkeys. . . If you try to take your life, your sons and daughters will take your place.” Hatch follows through on his word. The prime minister is later displayed in front of the people. “Inside the cage were about a dozen bald-faced rhesus macaque monkeys and, in one corner, the naked prime minister huddled in the fetal position. He looked pale and sick; his mouth swollen from the amputation of his tongue.”
- A man who protests Hatch’s rule is severely punished in front of the crowd. “The protestor was able to knock down just one of the guards before he was tased by three different guns, then beaten nearly unconscious by truncheons. The guards then dragged the man out before the crowd. He was lifted to his knees and pushed up against the pole next to the monkey cage. His arms were bound behind the pole, and a belt was cinched tightly around his waist to hold him up. . . The Elgen squad captain brought out a long, serrated knife and cut off the man’s ears as he screamed in agony.”
- Hatch punishes Quentin for betraying him. “Hatch slapped Quentin hard enough to knock him back into his bed. A thin stream of blood dropped from his nose. . . Hatch stood, then grabbed Quentin by the foot and dragged him off the bed. Then he kicked him while Quentin tried to protect himself from the blows.” Hatch also punishes Quentin with an improved RESAT device called a RAVE, which inflicts physical pain on the electric children and renders them powerless.
- Cassy, one of the electric children loyal to the resistance, threatens Schema, a former Elgen chairman, by using her powers on him. “As he stepped out onto the cement floor, he suddenly froze, unable to breathe. For nearly a minute he grasped at his throat; then he fell to his knees, then to his side, unable to even make a sound, his panicked, questioning eyes locked on Cassy. When he was just about to pass out, Cassy released him. Schema loudly gasped for breath, coughing and wheezing.” Cassy says to him, “In case you were feeling bold, I wanted you to know just how easy it is for me to kill you. . . this time, I paralyzed your lungs. If you disappear from my sight, even for a minute, I will stop your heart.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- The group talks about a hot sauce that’s named “hotter than hell.”
- Tara and Bryan, two kids loyal to Hatch, have an argument in which Tara calls him an “idiot.”
- Ostin and Michael call Dr. Hatch a “crazy freaking moron.”
- Many of the youths in the story have electricity related abilities. There are 17 electric children in all. Michael can shock and pulse like an electric eel. Taylor can read minds via electrical signals. Nichelle can drain electrical power, Abi can take away pain, and Mckenna can create light and heat.
- While staying at a hotel, Nichelle wants to stay in a room that is rumored to have a ghost haunting it. One of the workers says they encountered it when checking a fuse box in the basement. “The hair on the back of my neck rose, and I had this feeling that I was being watched. Then I saw a cloud in the shape of a man come toward me.” Michael, Nichelle, Taylor, and Ostin end up staying in the room and hear strange sounds at night.
- When Hatch takes over Tuvalu, he orders the former President to kiss his hand to show his allegiance. The man replies, “I bow only to God.” Hatch replies, “Where is your God in your time of need. I will tell you where your God is. You are looking at him.”
by Madison Shooter