Khanh the Killjoy

Anomaly - Krista McGee Recommended for: religious readers who like their Bible with a side of plotless dystopia. If you are one of the aforementioned, then just skip reading this review, it'll save you some time and you won't have to waste any more effort in leaving me a rage-filled and profanity-laced comment.Like a moth to a flame, I am drawn to the word "dystopia."Like a moth to a flame, I almost always get burned.Did I say dystopia? I meant Joel Osteen. At least it wasn't Glenn Beck, but still, that's not saying much. The premise and blurb was vague enough to give me pause, but what did I say earlier about moth and flames? I just can't resist a dystopian, in the hopes that this time, maybe the flame will turn out to be an LED light or something equally innocuous. I was wrong. Stupid, stupid me. As I scanned the blurb and got somewhat interested, I forgot to glance at the sidebar, where the categories are listed. Then I would have seen this book listed under the "Christian" category. Then I would have known better than to waste my time.My review on this book will be biased, mainly because I am not a religious person. But that's what a review is for, right? It's a subjective opinion, it's not fact. Someone reading this book may be heavily religious. They will undoubtedly love the fact that the book started with a quote from the Bible, and they will love the heavily religious intonations and messages throughout the book. I am not one of them. That is why my review will be biased. I do not appreciate religion being shoved down my throat. I do not have a problem with religion in general. I believe it has its place in society, and I don't have a problem with it in books. I just prefer books without an overwhelmingly religious message, and make no doubt, this book is extremely preachy. I've read books where characters are Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Church of Cthulhu (ok, not that one), etc...but those books differ from this one in that they:1. Have a plot2. Are well-writtenThis book is neither. It feels like the author built a dystopian society based of a hatred for science and a love for religion, without a clear idea for a storyline. That is not my only reason for giving this book a low rating. The plot was full of holes, the dystopian society is not well-built, the characters complete fail to evoke any sort of emotion or empathy within me. In fairness, the background cast for this book are intentionally unemotional, the post-Nuclear war world in which they live is based on rationality and lack of emotion, but that's not the case with our "anomaly" of a main character, nor that of her love interest. They are, for lack of a better word, quite human with all the accompanying gross emotions, but I just find them extremely bland. Their love is bland, their emotions lacking, their personality underdeveloped and lacking in any sort of complexity. The premise is already lacking in credibility, and Thalli herself is an uncompelling heroine. A lacking-in-every way Musician who is destined for A GWEATER PUWPOSE BY THE DESIGNER."'The Scientists designed you to be a Musician. And you are a beautiful Musician. But the Designer has plans that go beyond that. He has chosen you.'"This wouldn't be so incredible if Thalli was capable, but she's not. She has emotions (GASP!!!!!). She rebels. She talks too much. She's a good musician. She's less boring than the other rational characters in the book; she's still ridiculously uninspiring and untalented in any way. Her purpose as given by God far overreaches her actual capabilities, which amounts to zero.Thalli and Berk are rice cakes bland. Egg white bland. Salt-free bland. I'd compare them to brussel sprouts, but the bitterness of those oh-so-beloved vegetables give them more character than our monotonous, flavorless, and insipid Thallium (Thalli) and Berkelium (Berk).(In the future, children will be named after the period table elements. I am not kidding. It's a good thing they're a small underground society, there aren't that many elements...)So the premise: futuristic world, at least 40 years in the future. The United States, actually, the world, isn't really a world anymore. Billions have been killed by a Nuclear War. The remaining members of society (we're never given a clear idea of how many survived) moved underground into Pods (the word PODs + dystopia seems to be a bad combination, I should make a note for myself for future reference so I can avoid these books) where children are not conceived in the natural way, but somehow were just bred into existence without parents (again, never explained). Everyone seems to be white, nobody is gay, it's not an adequate representation of the world (even a small surviving population of it) as it is now, and even more inconveivable in the future, when presumably the world will be much more diverse. No such diversity here. Children are segregated by age, there seems to be 28 in Thalli and Berk's Pod C, and they're the 4th generation of Pod after the Nuclear War. It seems to be a tiny, tiny society, but we're never given a clear idea of how many survived. Not very many, if we're just going by the number of Pods.Even so, the scientists are determined to extinct the human race, it seems. Whenever a child in one of the Pods has an illness, he or she is eradicated. For example, one of Thalli's friend has some yellow mucus leaking from her nose. BOOM, time to die, bitches!I don't know about you, but where I live, it's called a nasal drip resulting from a cold, and that shit usually goes away on its own. Brilliant scientists save humankind...and are defeated by the common cold virus. Oh yeah, totally believable.This society is ruled by 10 scientists who have outlawed emotions. They figure, emotions and conflict caused the Nuclear War in the first place, so CLEARLY THE THING TO DO NOW TO REBUILD SOCIETY IS TO ENFORCE SELECTIC GENETIC BREEDING AND OUTLAW EMOTIONS IN THE INTEREST OF PEACE AND SCIENCE.There is such a backhanded commentary on science in this book. On the one hand, science is seen to be the salvation of the surviving human race. On the other hand, scientists are made to be evil villainous creatures who all but walk around twirling their moustaches and cackling evilly. They perform nefarious experiments. They are robotic. And for a bunch of doctors and Ph.Ds, they do the dumbest fucking things. Seriously? You expect people to believe that people don't die natural deaths, nor do they age?The writing is lackluster, emotionless. Just because the characters are meant to be rational in a science-based dystopia doesn't mean the writing has to be dull, but it truly is in this book. I really can't tell you how forgettable and confusing the plot is. It jumps from place to place, intertwined by Thalli's meeting with a man named John whose only job, it seems, is to preach to her and tell her about God, the Designer. I'm not making a joke about the preachiness of this book. The Designer this, the Designer that, the Designer is love, the Designer will correct all wrongs. Science is not the way. Etc...There is little rhyme nor rationality within the majority of the book's plot, but John's existence seems to serve the purpose of serving as a mini-sermon in between every other chapter."'God sent his Son, Jesus, into this world to save the world,' John says. 'The world rejected him. They killed him.''I can identify with this Jesus.'"Whatever you say, Thalli.Update: I'm going to add half a star because I used the sheet of paper on which I took notes for this book to kill a spider on my wall.