Stratus by Miranda Brock

Title: Stratus
Author:  Miranda Brock
Series: Fallen Skies #1
Pages: 244
Format: kindle
rating: 3/5
Price: Provided by the author for review

“I felt certain if I peered into them long enough I would see lightning flash in their depths ”

Stratus begins with our leading lady Lily who gets hit by lightning during a particular furious storm. She is surprised to see a gorgeous man lying next to her who introduces himself as Stratus. Lily find herself inexplicably drawn to the mysterious Stratus at the dismay of her friends and family. As the story continues questions about Stratus’s origins are answered as well as how he and Lily are tied together.

The book is told from Lily’s viewpoint who is the perfect character to experience the story through as we learn more about Stratus along with her. We also get to experience her thoughts and feelings first hand about living in a small town, the relationship with her family and friends as well as the intimate connection between herself and Stratus.

Miranda Brock is an author from southern Illinois who mostly writes fantasy and adventure. Brock is definitely an experienced writer and we can see evidence of this through her world building. Brock is very good at providing a detailed description to the reader which although can sometimes cause the story to drag, definitely helps the reader to paint a mental picture of the scene. 

Here is an excerpt from the book:

“Oh, great.” I’d sat there too long.

I quickly wrapped my camera in plastic before stuffing it into my bag. I got up, shifting my feet to encourage circulation. Wind swirled around me, carrying with it the sweet, earthy aroma of fresh rain. It would be a miracle if I made it back to my car without getting soaked. The rumble of thunder and distant rush of incoming rain confirmed my thoughts. How had the storm crept up on me so fast?

Pivoting, I darted toward the spot to make my way back down and then I couldn’t see through sudden white. Pain lanced through me from the inside out as my skull rocked with the loud, earth-shaking boom. The sound was gone just as quickly as the blinding light.

I blinked my eyes, wondering why in the world I was staring up at the sky and letting rain drip on my face. Something hard and wet was beneath me. Moving my fingers, I found the gritty surface of the ground. It felt as if it were swaying slightly. How did I get on the ground? I pulled in a shaky breath, trying to gather my scattered thoughts, and it took me a moment to realize I had to have been struck by lightning. There was no other explanation. Rain continued to pelt my face. I felt relieved that I wasn’t just a scorch mark on the hard rock surface. As I stayed motionless, a sudden thought occurred to me.

My crazy grandma always said thunder was caused by the clash of angels and demons, and lightning was the loser being cast to earth. So when I got hit by lightning, I couldn’t help but wonder, was I struck by an angel or a demon?

I started to sit up with a groan, my muscles protesting as if they had gone through a strenuous workout. Shaking my head, I thought about my grandma’s words. She had always been an eccentric with the most outrageous ideas. Demons and angels being cast to earth? What a ridiculous…

I blinked several times, and although I did have a buzzing sensation in my head, I was at least eighty percent sure I wasn’t hallucinating. If my mind was lucid, however, then who was the man lying not five feet away from me?

My favourite character in the story would be our protagonist Lily. She was very independent, strong willed and did not allow the opinions of her friends and family to sway her. Despite facing an inner turmoil when it came to her feelings for stratus, she wholeheartedly defended him and was ready to do what needed to be done without hesitation. This really made me respect her especially since female characters are often portrayed as weak and in distress.  Definitely very refreshing to see such a strong female lead that could be in love but also couldn’t be swayed. Most of the characters in the book got on my nerves; the reason for this was because of how narrow minded and stuck in their ways they were. Lily did make excuses for her friends and family, saying that their actions came from a place of love. Weirdly, as frustrating as these characters were, I completely understood the idea of friends and family who haven’t experienced new things, are scared of change and because of this want to keep you boxed in. However there were points that had me raising my eyebrows because the behaviour of these characters was becoming pretty ridiculous and slightly unbelievable. My least favourite character was Brantley and this is simply because he is the complete opposite of the characteristics I would respect in a man. He is egotistical, disrespectful typical red blooded alpha male who behave more like a dog then a grown man.
My favourite part of the book was getting the answers about Lily’s and Stratus’s heritage. It tied up a lot of loose ends for me and also piqued my interest to understand more about stratus’s world and how it links with Lily's.  My least favourite part of the book would be when Lily and stratus were getting to know each other and going on dates. This seemed to be a bit repetitive; Lily and Stratus would go on a date, Lily’s family member or friend would  interfere, lily and stratus would argue and then kiss and makeup.
Overall the book had a air of mystery about it which I really enjoyed and kept me on my toes. As I have already mentioned, the portion of the book where Lily and Stratus are getting to know each other dragged for me. However the unexpected twists in the book provided relief from this and renewed my interest.

While I was reading the book, I couldn’t help but compare it to the Twilight saga by Stephanie Meyer. You have an otherworldly being who falls madly in love with someone he shouldn’t, they have a period of navigating their relationship and the climax finished with a ‘villain’ attacking the couple. Now I am not saying this is exactly what happens in the book but it is pretty similar. The redeeming factors of the book are that Lily is not as spineless as Bella from the Twilight Saga, and secondly this series doesn’t focus on vampires but a different being which opens up another world of possibilities.  

The ending for me was too perfect. The climax was successfully resolved and the happy couple seemed to have gotten out of the whole mess without a scratch. For me, this was too neat and I would have preferred it if they had to deal with their consequences.

This book was kind of what I expected but not fully. As I mentioned above, there were elements that were predictable but the introduction of an unusual being gives this book the wow factor. Readers of the twilight saga and other similar series will thoroughly enjoy this book and I would assume it has been aimed and young adult readers. This book provides a solid foundation to the rest of the series and I cant wait to see what our leading couple get up to next. 



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