My Thoughts On Struck by Joss Stirling

2 February 2015


I've experienced Joss Stirling's writing before whilst reading her Benedicts series, and while she isn't the best author in my eyes, the ideas behind her stories are certainly intriguing. Stirling does write a good mystery, I just wish the execution was a little cleaner. Nevertheless, I will be reading the companion novel. I really did love the idea behind this story, and the fact that I managed to get past the mediocre writing is proof that it's not all bad.

As the "scholarship kid," Raven Stone has put up with a fair amount of bullying over her last three years at Westron, a boarding school that has a fancy reputation for housing the children of celebrities and other influential parents. When her best friend, Gina, returns from an overrun course at the manor - a part of the school that houses kids during the holidays if they can't/don't want to return home - Raven soon realises that Gina is different. She no longer recognizes Raven as a friend, and does some pretty horrible things to make sure Raven's life at Westron is miserable. But she's not the only one who has returned from the manor completely changed. Kieran Storm and Joe Masters - new students, secretly undercover on a mission for the Youth Detective Agency (or Yoda, as they call it) - are the only two people who don't treat Raven like a leper. With their help, she uncovers the truth about what's really happening behind the scenes at this prestigous school, and what they find is worse than she imagined.

I kind of loved and hated Raven. She was immature and whiney most of the time, but she had an uncercurrent of energy that was almost palpable. She was beyond determined for justice to be served, and it showed in her character. She was just a little... juvenile for my liking. Kieran was the same way. I found his intelligence really interesting, and the little unknown facts he spouted throughout this novel were fascinating. It's clear that Stirling put a lot of thought behind Kieran's character, but he wasn't written in a way that truly showed off what Stirling was trying to do. He was never really described beyond his superior intellect, and it got a little stale. Though he did open up to choices that perhaps weren't the logical solution, his progress was slow and disappointing. Nevertheless, I appreciate what Stirling tried to do with these characters, stopping me from loathing them completely. 

The relationship between Raven and Kieran is something that I did loathe, however. It never felt real, and that's a deal breaker for me. I cannot love a book without a realistic romance. Though there were a few passionate kisses and tender moments, they never truly felt like a couple. Though their differences should have brought them together, their relationship just didn't feel right. There was an undercurrent of... something. I can't explain it very well. I simply didn't like them as a couple.

The storyline itself was interesting. I love a good mystery, and even more so when it's a YA mystery. The deductions that I made whilst the investigation was open were right 90% of the time, but that didn't make the book feel predictable. I felt a strange sense of pride every time I was proved correct, and it added a new layer to the plot that helped me connect a little more to the story. 

Overall, I would recommend this book to people who enjoyed Stirling's other works. This is a good mystery story that will have you second-guessing everything. Despite my uneasiness about the writing, I did enjoy this novel.