Review: The Rain & The Storm

by Emma Sewell
by Emma Sewell

With all of our book reviews moving over to our blog, we thought we’d collect together our reviews of Virginia Bergin‘s two novels in The Rain series.

 

The Rain, one girl’s battle to survive… the unsurvivable.”

 

The Rain Virginia BerginThe Rain by Virginia Bergin has popped up on our bestsellers list this month. I knew I had a copy in my overflowing to-be-read pile and quickly dug it out. It had appealed to me instantly, a simple and effective cover with a suitably apocalyptic tag line.

Ruby is a regular teenager, she’s got her eyes on a boy, she wears make-up and she likes to party with her friends. We meet her as they’re enjoying the briefest of the English summertime, when frivolity quickly turns to something just short of terror as The Rain makes its first appearance.

We get straight into the current story, the bluntness of Ruby cuts through the question of “before”. You hear the abridged version of what has happened, but obviously there isn’t much detail because she was only a child at the time. Frustration did set in at the beginning, wanting to know more about the original disaster but that went from my mind once I was hooked into the story. It would be like one of the hundreds of movies out there where the ending is “yay we saved the world”… watch one of them and then wonder what would actually happen after the movie, and then read this book… because they don’t make films about that bit.

Ruby moves from being a teenager to more of an adult, she doesn’t make a complete jump to adulthood, she still has her obsession with make-up to keep her from that. She starts to be more analytical, but she does keep forgetting the basic essential of life-after-apocalypse… rain bad. She has her mission and she adapts to achieve it. Rather impressively she learns how to drive… much quicker than I did!

The story has a mix of everything: science fiction; horror; crime; romance. There are inevitably a lot of dead bodies in it and some gory deaths, but these were written very effectively and Ruby is sympathetic and tactful when relaying these bits. All in all it was a fast paced and exciting read. After reading about a quarter of the book I sat down for another session and accidentally finished it in a second sitting. I always think the best way to read a book is to suspend reality for a bit and not over think anything as almost every fiction book has something that won’t fully make sense to the reader. A couple of reviews online said that they thought Ruby wouldn’t have been able to survive The Rain, but this is where a little reality suspension comes in handy. She has help in the beginning and then after this she somehow made it to London, and back, with a selection of stops in between… hmm. It can only be said that she is extremely lucky in her exploits, but then doesn’t that give the reader a sort of real life hope? You don’t have to be a member of the SAS to survive a disaster, you just have to learn how to adapt.

I can see this appealing to a range of readers, but even though Ruby does have a tough action vibe to her that boys would like, she is still quite girly. This should definitely be in everyone’s library though, I’ve already made a space on my shelf for The Storm which is the next book in the series.

 

It never rains but it pours.

 

The Storm (The Rain 2) Virginia BerginThis is the second installment of Virginia Bergin‘s series, The Rain. Get on the bandwagon!

Ruby’s isolation has taken its toll. She’s done some sensible things with her time since the first book. The library has been a source of research, and she’s picked up some handy pointers on car maintenance and survival techniques. The rest of her time is less productive.

“The thing about going a bit mental is it’s hard to realise that’s what’s happening.”

Planet Ruby is a lonely place, and since her first tale she now has no mission apart from to stay put and wait. As you read on the question that comes to you is… how long has she been waiting? It’s clear that she’s not coping, she’s cried the pain away and now she’s crying because of the stress. She’s crazed and her memory is some what patchy, and I found this part of the book a little challenging to read. I re-read some parts as Ruby gets “chatty”, I found that I was speed reading at the pace I imagined her to be talking… which shows some great ability to get the character across, but for me was a little too fast to read only once. In the first book it was much easier to have some idea of time, but in this one she’s lost track, and so do you.

Her solitude can explain most of her behaviour, the state of her house and her erratic lifestyle more than likely contribute to the rest. She’s become wary of strangers, which probably started when she watched her step-dad die at the hand of one in The Rain. Ruby’s rehabilitation comes with the help of her least liked person… but even your enemy is a friend if they’re not a stranger.

The reappearance of her frienemy finally gives her what she needs to get back on her feet, a horribly big dose of reality. The phrase “the grass is always greener” is never so clear until she gets into the army base and the horrible truth comes to light. That’s when you get that moment… “I can’t believe I didn’t think of that in the first place”. You get so caught up in her discovery and anger that you don’t really notice that she’s outside… and it’s raining. It’s not really much of a surprise though, as it is on the cover after all! Now you realise that she wasn’t as lucky as you first assumed.

Unfortunately she hasn’t become any more likeable in this second instalment. If I was a friend or loved one she was coming to rescue I’d be pretty irritated that she stopped on the way to dye her hair, get some new clothes and paint her nails in the middle of a global crisis. Despite the reality check at the beginning of the book and her brush with serious personal danger, she hasn’t learnt much more in the way of common sense at all. She still can’t always see further than herself, and manages to accidentally endanger a variety of people she meets along the way.

After reading the first book I was really excited to read this one. It was another enjoyable one, but a bit more difficult to get through than the first. Ruby can be a tad challenging! There are a few things left unanswered in the end, but after the revelation from The Rain to The Storm it just gives you things to think over while you hope for the third book in the series.

As with the first book it would appeal to a wide range of readers. With new locations and situations it keeps that broad range, but she is still a bit girly sometimes!

 

We also saw Virginia Bergin at the Bath Children’s Literature Festival last year, you can find the post HERE.


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