Story Rating: 5 stars
Audio Rating: 5 stars
Narrator: Kevin R. Free
Length: 17 hours, 27 minutes
As I mentioned last week in my audio review of Something Like Lightning, this week’s review of the Something Like Thunder audiobook is a re-read opportunity that I was glad to take advantage of. Something Like Thunder looks at events that happened during Bell’s Something Like Spring, and leads into the previous book Something Like Lightning. As you can imagine, this review will contain spoilers of all kinds and the books must be read in order.
Nathaniel Courteney looks like he has it made. He has supportive family, a part-time job tutoring other students, and his best friend Rebecca. Where his perfect life falls apart is that his brother Dwight uses Nathaniel as a punching bag, and Rebecca thinks he really isn’t gay and that they would be a good match. What Nathaniel is slowly realizing is that the boy he tutors, Caesar, is adorable. Straight, but adorable.
After one particularly bad incident with Dwight, Nathaniel confides in Caesar’s father, Mr. Hubbard, who offers a safe haven from the violence. Nathaniel and Caesar grow closer, but not in the way that Nathaniel wants them to. The turning point comes during a road trip to visit Nathaniel’s grandparents where he finally admits his feelings for Caesar and finds out that Caesar loves him in return.
Soon, the honeymoon is over as Nathaniel and Caesar find less time to be together, stolen moments here and there that are just not satisfying for either of them. Their sneaking around is risky and Nathaniel has rules to keep things quiet and safe, but still trouble awaits them.
If you read Something Like Lightning, you already know some of what goes on between Nathaniel, Caesar, and even Jason Grant and the Hubbards. From the moment that I met Nathaniel, I knew I had met a favorite character, and after Winter and Autumn, Thunder is my favorite of the stories. Nathaniel, an enigmatic and quiet man, leaves us wondering at first, and it is here that we learn about his past, his pain, and what made him the man he was in the previous book. His childhood, including his teenage years, determined the man he became and these same circumstances could have broken a lesser man.
We also meet up with Caesar again and are given further insight into his personality, what made him tick from then until now, and one thing I am sure you will notice in his journey is that he may appear the confident hot-shot, but is fragile and insecure underneath all of the bravado.
Now last week I mentioned my feelings for Kelly, both when I read the book, and then after listening to the audiobook, and here is an example of organic character growth. Last week I talked about disliking Kelly’s character more in the audio performance than in the book. This week I started to like Kelly, his change in attitude and growth making him more likeable. Although there was tension out the wazoo between Nathaniel and Kelly, resulting in an almost bittersweet ending, their friend Marcello who always “knows best” swooped in and saved the guys from themselves.
Again, Free did a fantastic job with the narration, and after six books, I have yet to find a criticism worthy of note. Perfect pace, intonation, and clear diction, without ever sounding mechanical make every performance a treat. Free also maintains some of the best character voices out there, making each foray into the Seasons/Storm books a seamless journey. Yes, I too feel like a broken record, but the truth is the truth.