Published: October 2013 by Leap Books
Format: ARC, 184 pages
Luke Riley is lost. His mother's recent death has set Luke and his family adrift. Even though his father, twin brothers, and their three Bloodhounds are search and rescue volunteers, they have been unable to rescue themselves and become a family again.
The youngest son in a family of search and rescue dog trainers, Luke must face his deathly fear of storms to prove he and the dog he's training belong in the family business.
Storm Watcher is a poignant and compelling read which had me on the verge of tears more than once.
I came into this book thinking, hoping, it was a paranormal fantasy, perhaps about a boy who can channel the power of a storm. Storm Watcher is a heartwarming contemporary about a young boy who recently lost his mother, and then found himself without the support of his elder brothers and father as well. Every individual, every family, grieves in its own way, and this is the story of how that grief can affect the youngest and the most vulnerable.
No magic powers here, except perhaps the extraordinary strength of will Luke displays. There’s a lot of darkness in his life, made of sadness and loss and guilt and blame, but the way Luke manages with it brought tears to my eyes. It absolutely killed me to see this young kid beset by so much, when the people who were meant to be helping him were too busy taking out their negativity on him.
My favourite aspect of the book are its characters, who are realistic, even the ones I hated, and I could see the motivations behind each and every one of them. Storm Watcher is a story about people, and the characters in the narrative represent humanity with its strengths and flaws. I love that they all make mistakes and snap-judgements, and don’t always know how to apologise.
Maria V. Snyder’s masterful writing has swept me away yet again, not that I should really be surprised! The characteristics that make her YA fantasy novels so well loved – the characters and their relationships, the worlds they live in, the struggles they overcome – are all present. I loved Storm Watcher, and recommend it to all her fans.
Blogging Outside the Box is a feature at Speculating on SpecFic, where books outside the SFF banner are reviewed. It is intended to highlight some of the non speculative fiction titles I am reading and share my thoughts with readers.