Grounded by G.P. Ching
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Grounded (The Grounded Trilogy book 1)by G.P. Ching
This is a sort of Para-normal dystopic series of books that caught my eye and has some interesting notions and a somewhat unique look into a community that might be able to avoid the evil that grows out of efforts to create a ecological green world while masking a more insidious plot to control everything. I really enjoyed reading the novel and I think that goes back to my preferring character driven stories over the Simon Pure Science stories that have too much possibility of forgetting about characters or creating characters that are walking clichés of Sci-Fi. No such clichés here these are pretty complex characters.
The story starts with a power breakdown on the grid and a fireman who happens across an abandoned infant and the mysterious man who seems to be a walking lightning storm.
Seventeen year later we find Lydia on an Amish farm doing chores and going about her usual life of simplicity in an area that has been abandoned to the supposed radioactive waste from a nuclear meltdown. The implication that their community should all have died from the radiation has kept their home a relative secret from the world that still struggles with energy accessibility. Her friend Jeremiah is trying to talk her into doing the Rumspringa with him; mostly so he can more freely court her. This is important because later she questions how serious he is about her when this should have been a strong indicator.
When her father Frank is stricken with a possible stroke they have to decide to let it play out as is or send him to the city to undergo treatment. The decision to send him off begins the series of events that eventually lead to Lydia reluctantly agreeing to Rumspringa so she can be closer to her father at the hospital.
It does not take long into this story for us to see that it is more than a simple life that has made the Amish community the perfect place for Lydia. Lydia has powers that might be elemental in nature and she hasn't been trained to use them so she's a walking disaster set off by exposure to electricity.
If there is one quibble I have with this novel; it would be that when her powers blossom they take on a familiar feel to them. It's been a while since I read the Firestarter novel so most of my feelings about this come from the movie. But I think it is fair to say that as her powers grow and her confusion turns more to anger the display is very much like the hotter points in the Firestarter movie. There is that balance or loss of balance between the overwhelming power and control that leave her exhausted and sometimes uncontrollable.
One redeeming quality is that where Firestarter relies on her parents training to control herself; Lydia is relying on her belief system to help guide her and that brings the character into focus just a bit better or differently.
This is another reasonable SFF for fans who aren't pernickety about the science and even better for the dystopia world fans. I will definitely be looking to finish out the trilogy.
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