Anomaly is a YA dystopian, post-nuclear war survival story. Yes, I hear your sigh. Another one?
But guess what. This book was GREAT! The plot was well-developed, the characters believable, the concept possible, if not probable. And there was a twist at the end that left you wanting to know MORE! This absorbing read for YA enthusiasts has a strong Christian worldview that doesn't overpower or come across as preachy. Krista does a wonderful job of being inside Thalli's head as she blossoms into the creative, emotionally charged human The Designer meant her to be.
I was really intrigued by the secondary world Krista develops in this story, and how compromised standards were intentionally presented as attractive options. I can't say more without a spoiler alert, but isn't that how sin is often presented? A subtle shifting of lines, quiet agreements, compromise.
I highly recommend this to YA readers, and I look forward to reading the next book when it comes out.
NOTE: I was given a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.
Seventeen-year-old Thalli has been scheduled for annihilation. She is the Musician for her pod, her group of peers, and she feels emotions, something the post-apocalyptic society she lives in has attempted to remove through genetic engineering. Berk, her childhood friend, is now a Scientist and persuades his colleagues to save her for study. She is given a reprieve, but as the experiments start, she soon starts to wonder what is real and what is not.
Krista McGee's last three books were contemporary YA chick-lit romances, stories of young women finding God and finding love in the hot-house of reality television (so perhaps they were actually fantasy?). Anomaly is YA Christian sci-fi, which is both a dramatic departure from her earlier books, and a small but growing niche in Christian fiction. That was a surprise: not only that an author with a following in YA romance would move into such a different genre, but that she'd do it so well. This is good. Really good. Read-in-one-sitting good.
Anomaly has similarities to many other sci-fi classics I read as a teenager or as an adult (most of which I can't remember the names of but The Giver, TV shows such as Jeremiah, and movies like Logan's Run do spring to mind). Anomaly paid homage to some of these classics with its post-apocalyptic emotionless society living deep in the mountains of Colorado, a society that assigns children into roles at birth and terminates those who don't fit in. It has a definite Christian take on that future society, from John as the remnant to the concept of a Designer.
It wasn't perfect: I do have some questions, like why a small science-driven society that genetically engineers people to serve a specific purpose saw the need for a Musician, and how John's son has such different values and beliefs to those of his parents. But these are small niggles. The sequel (Luminary) is due out in January 2014, and I'll be looking forward to it.
Recommended for those who enjoyed books like The Giver and The Hunger Games. Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Within the State, productivity is paramount. To this end, emotions, curiosity, and relationships are not only frowned upon, but they have been mostly eradicated through DNA manipulation of the generations. However, Thalli is considered an Anomaly; created to be her pod's musician, she pours all of her illicit emotions into her music. The creators of the State, the Ten Scientists, watch Thalli closely, and when it becomes obvious through her reactions to an ancient piece of music that she cannot function within the confines of the State's rules, they schedule her for annihilation. Removed from her Pod, with only her childhood friend Berk, now a promising Scientist, fighting for her survival, Thalli meets John who speaks to her about the Designer. What is Thalli to believe now? Is there more to life than the Scientists allow? Is there a purpose to her "malformation"? Is there any hope for her to escape death? Does she even want to, or is death really only the beginning?
I was very excited to get this book for review - I really enjoyed Krista McGee's first trilogy, First Date, Starring Me, and Right Where I Belong. This book did not disappoint. Although a departure from the author's initial genre, delving into dystopia, her characters are just as well developed, and her fictionally generated world draws the reader in, making it easy to imagine living in a world where the earth's surface has been eradicated and the only remaining civilization is contained underground. Eerily possible, too, is a world where the Scientists controlling such a world have erased any emotion or connection to God. Yet, even there, there is a remnant of God's faithful, a sole believer who has survived to teach others of His existence. This portion of the story really drew me in - as Thalli not only had to learn of a God she never heard of, but also concepts like love and marriage that were foreign to her.
Although the levels of manipulation within the story toed the line of implausible, the story was still well done, and I enjoyed it very much. I was excited to see that it's the first in a trilogy, but heavily disappointed to see that #2 isn't due out until next summer!
I give this book 4 stars, and I can't wait to see where Ms. McGee takes this story!
I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson publishers, as part of their BookSneeze program, in exchange for my honest review.
Anomaly is the first in a trilogy of what happens after a nuclear war across the earth. Thalli is raised underground knowing only about the bad things that happened on the earth and that the State will take care of them. Everything is logical, there is no emotion, but for Thalli, she questions many things and learns to hide her curiosity. When Asta, a fellow member of Pod C, falls sick and is taken away, Thalli is devastated. Then a few years later, her best friend Berk is taken away to be a Scientist, and will not be allowed contact again. Thalli's hidden emotions finally appear when she is asked to play a piece of music that survived the nuclear fallout and is touched by the answers within the music. As Thalli lays on the floor in tears, she is declared an anomaly and sentenced to annihilation. Thalli learns of a Designer and her world is opened up and filled with love and hope. If only Thalli can convince the Scientists to allow love back in their lives again.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone that likes a sci-fi style writing. I was most impressed with the author's ability to bring God and Jesus into the front of the storyline rather than keeping it in the background like many such books. I look forward to reading the next two books in this series.
There are only a handful of humans remaining after the Nuclear War decimated what used to be the world as we know it. Only for those of us left, we don't have any memory of that world. All we have are the lessons we study about the world that once was. We are segregated by generations and in my Pod C, there are only about thirty of us. Each of us has a talent that only we alone possess. For me, Thalli, I am a musician. I can read and create music as though that was all I was born to do. For my roommates they have their own special skills, cooking, inventing, designing and even logical thinking. We are kept away from the other Pods B and A, as they are another generation ahead of us. We have no parents and we don't even consider those of us dwelling in this Pod as friends really. We just go about our days like we're supposed to only for me, I am considered an anomaly, because I think. I ask too many questions. I wonder why more than I just accept things like my Pod mates. My only ally is Beck who is a wonderful scientist and who sense there is more to me than I am supposed to be.
Whenever illness comes, we are removed and never seen again. They call it annihilation and we cease to be. Thanks to a group of scientists known as The Ten, we are able to live and find ways to grow food beneath the ground. We can't go above because the air is toxic and we would simply die. So for now, we continue to work on finding a way to survive in this existence, but if they learn that I am not all I am supposed to be, it will be my turn for annihilation. Only scientists are allowed to ask questions and to wonder why. I am simply to create music. However when I am asked to play an old piece of music left behind by the world before us, I can't hide the emotions that the song brings out in me. Now I am moved to isolation and the experiments begin to see if I possess anything that can be useful before I am annihilated.
But will the world I believe is my home turn out instead to be a virtual one? A simulation so real that all of my senses are engaged and I can not longer differentiate from what is real and what is not? What is my true calling in this life? Is there hope for something more than simply what I was created to be? How much longer will I be allowed to live before I am no longer a viable option?
In the novel Anomaly by author Krista McGee, Thalli is a young girl who begins to wonder if there is something more than what she has been lead to believe her whole life. She knows nothing of parents, love or God other than what she is reading about through her history lessons on her learning pad. This calls into question what would happen if just a handful of humans remained on the earth after a horrible nuclear war. How would they survive? What would they do to maintain law and order in their society? This is just that premise that Krista breathes to life in this dystopain fiction that sounds like a futuristic version of Lord of the Flies. I absolutely LOVED all the shifting of realities and soon found myself questioning what is real or isn't in this wonderful science fiction young adult novel. For anyone who loves this type of genre, you will not be the slightest bit disappointed.
I received Anomaly by Krista McGee compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. Knowing how quickly we are creating our own virtual reality's in video games, this one really took me by surprised and wondered just how far along are we really. This really does create a sense of what if, when you read this one and makes us question just how beneficial is technology in the future. How will this world survive if we found ourselves in the situation Krista created in this novel. This is definitely a novel that makes you wonder how you would handle creating a lasting remnant if given the chance. How much freedom would you allow people to have? I rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars and there's even some discussion questions included for book groups or small group study.