Review: Category 7 by Bill Evans and Marianna Jameson

Kate Sherman is a brilliant young meteorologist who can’t understand how she recently missed predicting three major storms—storms that cut into the profits of her employer, Coriolis Industries. Afraid of being fired, Kate throws herself into an analysis of the strange storms—and headlong into the path of a secret plot that may cost her her life!

Hurricane Simone is a Category 7—the biggest, strongest storm in recorded history—and she’s clawing her way up the East Coast. When she hits New York City, skyscrapers will fall. Subways and tunnels will flood. Lower Manhattan and much of Queens and Brooklyn will disappear under more than thirty feet of water. Thousands, if not millions, will die.

Created by secret, cutting-edge weather science, Simone is not just an unnatural disaster—she’s a weapon. Kate and CIA weatherman Jake Baxter must figure out how to stop the storm before she flattens New York City . . . and identify Simone’s master before he has them both killed.

Category 7 by Bill Evans and Marianna Jameson. Paperback edition, 400 pages. Published by Tor, 2007.

I love killer nature or cli-fi or whatever you want to call it. Bad storms, killer waves, earthquakes, volcanoes, and everything else mixed in. I love the disaster theme. High on frenzied action, everyone running around trying to stop mother nature somehow just in the nick of time. So fun!

Category 7 was not high on frenzied action. In fact, for a disaster story, it is actually really slow. I know I’m not the only one who read this thinking it was going to be full force hurricane craziness with the wind blasting, with cars and cows being blown away. If you go into this book expecting that, you might feel let down when you finish this book.

This book is filled with people sitting around looking at data and files and charts. It’s people sitting around waiting to see if a tropical storm is going to upgrade to a hurricane, and then the hurricane upgrade to which number category. We see the mastermind slowly escalate the storm. Occasionally someone gets in a jet or helicopter. We watch towns try to be warned, then told to seek shelter, then finally to evacuate. Author Bill Evans is a senior meteorologist and clearly knows his shit. He understands what needs to be done when a big storm is coming. Unfortunately, real life techniques for storm watching at headquarters doesn’t make for a super thrilling read. I was still entertained, but I could imagine some readers being pretty irked off over the slowness of the plot.

There were a few things that the authors used so much that it kind of was a turn off. First, they mention 9/11 terrorist attack on NYC a LOT. I understand bringing it up a few times because it ties a little bit in to one of the main characters… but, we didn’t really need to be brow beaten into remembering about it. We ALL remember. We ALL understand that it was traumatizing to one of your main characters. Less is more, and mentioning it this many times felt like the authors were just trying to shoe horn it in whenever they needed a little bit of emotion, and this was their one big go to move. Second… WTF was up with all the “woo-woo” usage? *shrug* Once was a little odd but fine. Not bad. But the authors used “woo-woo” so many times it just ended up really standing out and feeling kind of awkward. Third, so many adjectives in just about every sentence. Sentences were so bogged down with wordy descriptions. Like, I don’t even spot that kind of stuff! It felt like this made things move even slower through this book. Over all, I think this book was a little bit too long and could have benefited from some more editing.

Oh, and also…. seriously, NOBODY thinks the mega corporation that cleans up all these odd natural disasters is suspicious at ALL? The corporation that shows up out of the blue within mins of the crisis. They just happen to be in the right spot at the right time, everywhere in the world? HELLLLO! IT’S *THAT* GUY!!

I was entertained by Category 7, but it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. I think if you go in knowing that it’s going to be a much slower, more technical side to the storm chaser job, it won’t be too annoyed?


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