Bad Bloods: July Lightning by Shannon A Thompson Review

Not my favorite Shannon A Thompson novel, but it’s still quality.
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Sixteen-year-old Caleb has been called many things: a patient, a musician, even a prostitute…now he has a new name—son. After his identity is uncovered, Caleb bands together with the family he once rejected in order to save the city of Vendona. But it won't be easy. Enemies wait around every corner—and so do harsh realities. With Violet and Kuthun by his side though, nothing seems impossible. As Vendona sits on the verge of an economic collapse and a massive hurricane threatens the city, Violet and Caleb must show its citizens how to overcome decades of hostility and division to save themselves.
Standing or not, a sea will rage, a wall may fall, and all will depend on immortal pain and summary

“A heroic act is not always followed by glory and parades and forever freedom. It’s often small, disregarded, or forgotten. But it matters.”

I must first thank Shannon A Thompson for always giving me the chance to read her novels. Even though July Lightning isn’t my favorite book by her, it is still good and worth checking out!

So what was different in July Lightning that I didn’t like? Honestly, I didn’t feel as invested in the story and characters as I had in previous books. I love Caleb, Violet, Serena, and Daniel, but many side characters feel flat for me. This is unusual for Shannon Thompson’s writing but we just didn’t spend much time with certain side characters making me more apathetic when their lives were in danger.

Secondly, (this could be considered a spoiler so if you don’t want to read, just skip over this paragraph) things seemed to wrap up a little too nicely for my taste— it felt unrealistic. This makes me really sad because Shannon Thompson usually does realism well, even in a dystopian/SCIFI series, but I just wasn’t buying the ending. She showed in November Snow that she isn’t afraid to get dark and kill off characters so I don’t know why she kept things lighter here. I was also disappointed with what happened with Robert. No spoilers, but I just expected more.

It may sound like I’m just complaining about July Lightning and that I didn’t like it, but I actually enjoyed many aspects of the novel. For example, I found Violet’s character very interesting. Her powers could’ve been better defined (I wasn’t completely sure of everything she could do) but her uniqueness made me constantly want to know more about her and her past. I found the way Shannon Thompson subtlety hinted at Violet's connection to the Timely Death trilogy very cleaver. It wasn't in your face or too obvious-- it was just right.

I might like Caleb’s POV even more that Violet because there was always something new to learn about him. Whether it be more information about his backstory, his immortality, or his past tie to Violet-- I was always engaged when reading more about his character. His nonexistent relationship with his father set up at the end of July Thunder, caught my attention and had me intrigued with the changing dynamic between the two throughout July Lightning. It is sweet to see this kid who had grown up without a father figure in his life to come to better know and understand his family.

Finally, as someone who lives in southern Louisiana, hurricanes and potential flooding has been a part of my life since I was born. Many of you may not know, but last August a thunderstorm hit my area hard and many of my friends and family were flooded and forced from their homes for many months until they had completed rebuilding. These experiences really help me relate to the characters in July Lightning as they face the very really possibility of their city going under. It is a worrying thought for all of your possessions to be lost to an impending storm which one can do nothing about. This is a universal feeling anyone in this situation would feel, and it was portrayed very well in July Lightning.

Overall, I enjoyed aspects of July Lightning but other aspects feel flat. I would still recommend all of the Bad Bloods books for anyone who is curious! There is something to be enjoyed in all four books. I’ll also be picking up whatever Shannon Thompson writes next so this, in no way ruined her books for me. Check them out if you get the chance.

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