'The Lightning Catcher' by Clare Weze is a great debut that electrifies with imagination, warmth and originality. David Almond meets 'Stranger Things' - a unique blend of the everyday with science.
Alfie has moved to Folding Fold away from the city, so his family, and particularly his sister, can make a new start. But Alfie doesn't expect to experience such strange, bonkers weather. And neither does he expect to unleash some wildly electric creature from the very peculiar Nathaniel Clemm - the Mothman. As Alfie seeks to understand the fizzing, whizzing thing he has released, can he also learn to understand himself, his family and find his place in the town?
Often with books like this, I have to express how much I love the voice - and 'The Lightning Catcher' is no exception. The narrative is framed through Alfie's journal, and while at points this might be limiting, it actually succeeds magnificently because Alfie's voice is so distinct - troubled, endearing and often charmingly insightful. There are echoes of Sharna Jackson's 'High Rise Mystery' as Alfie investigates with a cool intensity and wit. But Clare Weze also brings warmth and compassion through Alfie's interactions with family and friends while blending in the science with a vividness comparable to the likes of Christopher Edge and Ross Welford. In parts I felt the danger could have been ramped up even more, until towards the end I was shocked by what happens to Alfie; the danger not being the creature he unleashes but the people from Folding Fold who treat Alfie so badly, as if he were just some destructive streak of energy too not understood by anyone. This is the heart of the book and where Clare Weze succeeds the most.
As this is set in the summer holidays, so 'The Lightning Catcher' is a great book to read this August. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Clare Weze writes next!