For me, Anomaly was true to its name, in that its sheer level of terrible landed it on my extremely rarely used "too-awful-to-finish" shelf.
A YA dystoFor me, Anomaly was true to its name, in that its sheer level of terrible landed it on my extremely rarely used "too-awful-to-finish" shelf.
A YA dystopian? Sure, I'll give it a whirl. A YA dystopian that beats me over the head with the author's particular brand of religion and is more than a little short on character development, believable worldbuilding, and plot? Pardon me while I Hail Mary the book like there's five seconds left in the Super Bowl and I'm Tom Brady trying to finish off a dramatic comeback.
I ran across this book in July while perusing my library's new YA ebook purchases. There were already quite a few people on the hold list, which piqued my interest, and the blurb looked okay at first glance, so I signed up for it. I waited nearly three months for my turn to arrive. Today I was notified that the book was finally available to me. Excited, I downloaded it. And that's when I discovered that this book treats people like they're heathen tent pegs that can be forced into the desired position on religion if hit hard and often enough with a Christian hammer.
Now, I'd like to point out that I'm not knee-jerk hating on this book. In the past, I've enjoyed certain stories that included or were based on religious themes and elements, Cynthia Hand's Unearthly series being a prime example. However, Anomaly contains a ton of evangelical Christian messages and biblical quotes and not a whole lot else - like characters that are sufficiently developed for the reader to give a rat's ass about them, or a coherent plot. To me, the MC, Thalli (yes, the kids in this book are named after elements from the periodic table, because Evil Scientists), was about as interesting and appealing as a bowl of cold oatmeal. She's supposed to be this huge danger to the Pod where she lives BECAUSE SHE HAS EMOTIONS AND NO ONE ELSE DOES, OH NOES! But she doesn't do much of anything, so it was hard for me to take that portrayal at all seriously. Now, I will freely admit that I couldn't make myself finish this book (an extremely rare event for me), so it's possible Thalli becomes a dynamic and fascinating character by the end. It could have happened. For all I know, it did happen. I'm just going to say I doubt it.
What's more, the contemptuous portrayal of science and scientists is extremely disturbing. Yeah, scientists, those evil jerks. What have they ever done for the world? It gets even worse when Thalli encounters a plot device man named John who tells her about the almighty Designer. And of course, we're talking about a very evangelical-friendly Christian version of said Designer. From that point on, we're on our way into Preachytown by way of the Science Is Bad line, and it's one hell of a fast ride.
To be fair, I shouldn't have assumed the book would be an entertaining read on the basis of a generic blurb and a long waiting list at my local library. That was stupid on my part, especially considering that I live in an area that's home to a large evangelical college. However, there are plenty of ways to include religious ideas and elements in a story effectively. Unfortunately, this book uses none of those options. Instead, it shifts quickly from storytelling into preaching and stays there, with an occasional jump into proselytizing for variety. But the true deal-breaker for me was the overwhelming impression I received that it was a vehicle for evangelical Christian messages first and an actual story a sad and distant second. If you want to preach, fine, but be up front about it. Don't encapsulate your message in a hollow shell of a YA dystopian in a ham-fisted attempt to make it more palatable to teens and to attract more readers. Just be honest about your true purpose. ...more
I'm going to need to read this a couple of times before I'll feel confident about reviewing it, so for now I'm giving it with a middle-of-the-road ratI'm going to need to read this a couple of times before I'll feel confident about reviewing it, so for now I'm giving it with a middle-of-the-road rating. However, I will say that I'm not really looking forward to rereading it. ...more