My book review of Storm Forged
The very first thing I have to say is, “Wow!” Storm Forged, Book One of the series, The Darkest Storm, by Patrick Dugan had me hooked from the very beginning and took me on a wild, roller-coaster adventure ride. With The Gauntlet resembling a nasty, punishing Hunger Games, and X-men-like Teenage Mutant Superheroes, subjugated by gift-dampening collars, just one step away from outright rebellion running the show, there was plenty of action, protagonists (great and small), heroism, angst, coming of age, and tough choices to keep the reader engaged and eagerly pressing on page after page.
Let’s take a look at the social injustice for a moment. We have the “Norms” and the “Gifted.” That shouldn’t be too difficult to sort out. The Norms are folk just like you and me; whereas, the Gifted are superheroes, protecting folk just like you and me—right? If only life could be that simple and pure. But there is a price for “gifts,” sometimes a heavy price. Sure, many of the Gifted used their gifts for good, but even that could go wrong—collateral damage, for instance, one problem that we’ve seen time and time again in most of our favorite superhero tales. Then, of course, you get the Gifted who decide to use their gifts for, well, personal gain (to put it mildly). All in all, a situation that some Norms hate, and most Norms tolerate (for the good that comes of it, of course).
Enter, the Protectorate. The evil Big Brother entity that uses its army of Reclaimers to wage war on the Gifted, taking over the world in the process, of course (I mean, there has to be some reward for all the trouble they take to “protect” all us Norms, right?) The good Gifted lose (or give up in order to protect the innocent bystanders who get pummeled into non-existence by the Protectorate’s mass destruction weapons), and the subjugation begins. Any Gifted folks who fought against the Protectorate go to The Block (prison for Gifted). Adult Gifted who did not fight are collared with gift-dampening technology, and children are “tested” at age five to see if they have gifts (that won’t manifest until early puberty), and collared. All Gifted must live within a 200-mile radius of a Block facility. Now we have a society ripe for injustice and prejudice. With the Protectorate in charge of the media, and completely willing to perpetrate deadly crimes against unsuspecting Norms, then running fake newsreel footage implicating the Gifted as the evil monsters responsible for the devastation. . .well, you get the picture.
That’s it for me, guys! End of review—except to say—follow teen hero, Tommy, and his friends and family for the ride of your life! If you’re not outraged by the bullying and prejudice, if you’re not rooting for the Gifted while simultaneously wishing the price wasn’t so high, if you’re not questioning complacency, if you’re not up in arms against Big Brother subjugators as you delve deeper into Tommy’s world—what am I saying?! Trust me—you will understand where my head is at. Pick up a copy and read it for yourself before someone turns it into a movie (and they should). If Netflix, HBO, or Amazon doesn’t grab this up, just let Marvel Studios catch wind of it. . .!
Patrick Dugan is currently working on a deadline to complete Book 3 of the series, so I will be interviewing him later. Keep checking for updates, or just sign up for my newsletter!