Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.
The Book of Storms by Ruth Hatfield is a middle grade that I snagged when I was in a serious middle grade binge and was pumped for every middle grade with any fantasy in it at all ;-). I’m happy to finally have gotten a look at what kind of middle grade The Book of Storms is, but it turns out that it probably isn’t the kind I much like. It is based in the UK though, which is quite cool!
Note: I received an advanced copy of The Book of Storms from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Book of Storms by Ruth Hatfield
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on Jan. 27th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, MG
Page Length: 368 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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Eleven-year-old Danny O’Neill has never been what you’d call adventurous. But when he wakes the morning after a storm to find his house empty, his parents gone, and himself able to hear the thoughts of a dying tree, he has no choice but to set out to find answers. He soon learns that the enigmatic Book of Storms holds the key to what he seeks . . . but unraveling its mysteries won’t be easy. If he wants to find his family, he’ll have to face his worst fears and battle terrifyingly powerful enemies, including the demonic Sammael himself.
How is the writing style?
The writing style came off in that middle grade style where it is trying to be intense, but doesn’t manage doing that along with still being appropriate for middle grade readers. The point of view was third person past tense but with at least two different points of view. Also since it is a UK original as far as I can tell, some things are called using words that I wasn’t all that familiar with such as lurcher for dog.
It looks like there will be chapter header illustrations, but my ARC doesn’t have them in yet so I can’t wax lyrical about the art unfortunately D:.
General tone of the beginning
The Book of Storms opens with a prologue of sorts taking place during a scary storm and referencing what the main character, Danny’s, parents tend to be doing during a storm, which is apparently storm chasing of some kind. It then jumps in with Danny’s chapter the morning after the storm when he discovers his parents are missing. This was an intriguing start (if a bit predictable) until a tree started magically talking to Danny and the wonderful line of something like “he didn’t know how he knew but he did!” was used, which generally has me rolling my eyes. This was when things were feeling a bit too childish to hold my interest. Not much whimsy sadly!
Setting, genre, etc?
The setting is definitely modern-ish day somewhere in the UK I suspect. Since there was a magic, talking tree and it seems like Danny’s parents are up to something magical, I feel confident saying The Book of Storms will fall in the fantasy category ;-). And I smell the beginnings of a grand quest to go rescue parents a’brewing!
- What are you talking about, I already finished it last night (~5 stars)
- Definitely going to be reading this next (~4 stars)
- Keeping and hoping to get back to (~3 stars)
- Probably not getting back to but someone else will like it (~2 stars)
- Don’t really want to push this copy on anyone else (~1 star)
The Book of Storms is going to be another two star equivalent for me, with the “someone” being a younger reader, particularly one who is into meteorology (I’m pretty sure those exist, they should!). The glimpse I took made it seem like it wouldn’t appeal as much to those of us adults who enjoy reading some middle grade unless you don’t mind the kind with more simplistic plots.
Have you read this one yet? Are you inclined to check it out?
The Book of Storms by Ruth Hatfield
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