Monday, 24 August 2015


Title: The Storm
Series: The Rain
Author: Virginia Bergin
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic
Release Date: February 1st 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
"I'll tell you a weird thing about apocalypses - a thing I didn't even know until I was in one: they seem pretty bad, don't they? Well, take it from me: they can always get worse."

Three months after the killer rain first fell, Ruby is beginning to realise her father might be dead . . . and that she cannot survive alone. When a chance encounter lands her back in the army camp, Ruby thinks she is safe - at a price. Being forced to live with Darius Spratt is bad enough, but if Ruby wants to stay she must keep her eyes - and her mouth - shut. It's not going to happen. When she realizes what is going on - the army is trying to find a cure by experimenting on human subjects - Ruby flips out . . . and makes an even more shocking discovery: she's not useless at all. The Storm begins 

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Well after reading The Rain, I couldn't wait to read The Storm, I had so many questions, the main one being Will Ruby ever meet up with her dad? Because surely then all her problems will be over? I actually chose to read this one straight after book one. I usually read at least one different book before continuing a series but felt so invested in & engrossed in the world created by Virginia Bergin, that I picked this one straight up and began reading it late one night.

So again I was super lucky and downloaded this one from Netgalley and my daughter also received a paperback copy. So thank you so much to Netgalley and Macmillan.
The cover I have featured above is the UK version which I will base mt review on. So the cover has a female on it standing face upwards allowing the rain to pour down on her, almost embracing the feeling only fresh rain can give you. Who could it be? Doesn't the figure know the Rain is deadly? Could a cure have been found? Also featured on the cover is a tall wire fence with rolls of barbed wire around the top. Is the figure on the outside trying to get in? or on the outside after escaping? Or is the person trapped on the inside trying to get out? I think we can safely say that this book works brilliantly making you curious about who the figure is, why they are in the rain and whether they are in the fencing or outside the fencing. The byline of "The End Of The World Was Just The Beginning" fits this book so well, as The Rain was "just the beginning". . .and The Storm follows on very seamlessly. 
So would I pick this book up from a book store shelf purely on how the cover looks? Definitely, and wow I'd just have to buy this one after reading book one anyway!
This book picks up right where we left off in The Rain. It's honestly just as though you have turned just one page! I loved that aspect. I also find the way Ruby talks straight to us the reader and says what we may think if/when we find her journal. 
So the book begins with a sort of small not even page long prologue. It's almost like Ruby is in a therapist room saying it or talking directly to us the reader. If the book was a film, the surrounding set would fade into the background and Ruby would look directly down the camera lens and tell us the reader directly.

It is after that small "prologue/therapy" like statement that the book picks up as The Rain left off. Ruby is still waiting for her father Steven Morris and younger half brother Dan to return to her with her Grandma. It has already crossed her mind about what she will or can do if her father and brother etc don't return. . .Ruby has become so desperate and "stir-crazy" that she has taken to visiting Dartbridge Library. Ruby has been reading all she can about various subjects that she thinks she may need to survive. The one most instantly useful to her so far has been her research on clouds. It helps Ruby monitor the clouds in the sky and quite skillfully predict when it will rain and the type of rain it will be such as a real downpour or just a small shower. Ruby has taken to grading the subjects she has been reading up on and how useful she feels they will be.
So Self Help - didn't have anything specific enough about the apocalyptic rain so that subject gets a Ruby rating of 4/10.
Car Maintenance - was not something Ruby read because she wanted to, it was a case of she really needed to . . . but we learn more about that incident in more detail much later in the book. Hence a Ruby Rating 10/10!
Survival Manuals - chose to read these even though the things covered were really similar to the skills she was could have learnt as a girl guide. Though the girl guide badges Ruby chose to pursue pre-apocalypse were to gain the immediate reward & badge for cooking and baking! Ruby Rating 7/10.
I enjoyed this section of the book as even though the book is set during the apocalypse it does have it's lighter funnier moments. Another coping strategy Ruby has come up with is list making! Ruby actually writes down on paper a list of things that will eventually run out and no longer exist like chocolate spread to mobile phones!
Ruby cannot bear to go as far as listing the people she has lost. . . .that would be too emotional to bear. Ruby has also stopped collecting waif and stray animals as she grows too attached like she did with Whitby and then has to let them go, or see the "killer rain, form killer puddles" and take them from her. It was fun to begin with liberating all those animals, but now she realises there is no easier answer to how they can survive. Ruby slowly begins to give up hope and she stays in the house, stops going to the library, doesn't "wash" anymore. Ruby basically does the bare minimum to survive. She looses track of all time, stops writing, stops adding things to her numerous lists, she almost gives up. Ruby could have continued on in this "don't care haze" but she pushes herself too far and ends up crashing a Ferrari. She sort of only chose to drive it so she could add it to one of her lists! So the crash lead to other events that make her snap out of the haze. 
It's really difficult to say a great seal more without giving major spoilers! So forgive me from being vague, but if you read The Rain, you just have to read The Storm, it answers all the questions you wanted to ask after finishing The Rain. An unlikely old friend (I know I am using the term friend loosely her, you'll understand when you read the book) is looking for Ruby, wanting to tag along with her. Ruby is suspicious as the "friend looks like they have been living in much better conditions than she has. This friend tries various stages to reveal what went wrong at the place she was at before but circumstances never seem right so Ruby ends up learning for herself the horrors her friend has seen and heard about. They end up at a party house for a while but things end badly with the friend getting wet. That's how Ruby ends up on the other side of the fence and she discovers "Sunnyside". A place with a cute name but not a place you want to see let alone stay! We also meet some newer characters in this book that are very important to Ruby. However it seems these people are as shallow in the apocalypse as they were in the "before". In fact they end up disappointing Ruby in what I would say is a major way. When she really needs them, they have just gone. 
I think Ruby is a strong female character, she is much stronger than she realises herself. There are a few emotional moments in the book too. One is where Ruby leaves her house, which also means saying goodbye to room that has become the tomb that contains her mother, step dad Simon (whom she came to rely upon and was increasingly emotionally attached to in The Rain) and of course and perhaps the most difficult to leave her baby brother Henry. Even though Ruby cannot bear to go in the room, she finds leaving the house, their tomb and them behind extremely hard. The most poignant part of farewell is when Ruby kisses their bedroom door and vows to never forget them. This was a real tear jerker section of the book. This author cleverly takes us the reader through a whole range of emotions. I also enjoyed the smaller moments in the book, where when Ruby and her friend are in the party house, the "leader" Xar is watching a programme/dvd of large animals hunting ie the whole "survival of the fittest" scenario. I mean how ironic that Xar wishes to watch this kind of scenario when it is basically happening all around him. Xar is a rather strange man/boy who welcomes the apocalypse, he believes the human race deserves the killer rain, that it is somehow part of a larger plan that so many humans should die in this way.
Ruby also uncovers the possibility that the army knew that the killer rain was coming. She also knows from personal experience that the army are only helping those than have a specific skill they need.
So did I enjoy the book? Yes! I love the character of Ruby, she is a normal girl trying to survive in an increasingly abnormal world. Would I recommend the book? It is a must read if you read and your interest was captured like mine was with The Rain.
Would I want to read another book in this series? How the book ended it could be left there leaving the reader's imagination to fill in any questions left. Or there could be a third novel or novella re-visiting Ruby and updating us on what is happening with "the cure" etc, Would I want to read other titles by this author? I would certainly take a closer look at anything written by this author!

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