Reviewed by Marcus Hammond
After the world is decimated by a nuclear war, a group of people begins to rebuild society in what they believe is a more advantageous manner, underground. The group of 10 men, known as the Scientists, alters the genetic landscape of humankind by eliminating emotion. The result is a complacent community of people who serve one purpose and never question authority. Individuals who don’t fit the emotionless, subservient mold are eliminated from the community.
Thalli, a young musician, faces eradication due to her outward displays of passion for her pod mates, her music, and the hidden conspiracies that surround her. Her life appears to be over, until Berk, a scientist in training, taps her for an experiment to try and correct her abnormality. As her life hangs on the choices of the Scientists, she learns that there are bigger, more powerful plots at play in the community than she could ever imagine.
Anomaly by Krista McGee is an odd combination of young adult dystopian fiction and Christian fiction that isn’t as original as it might seem to be. The basic plot mixes the quickly tiring themes of Orwellian government control and the teenage angst of books like Twilight and Hunger Games. Thalli, the book’s protagonist, clearly begins to question the actions and methods that the ruling government body place on the community, which leads her to become an unlikely hero who questions authority. Her passion for music, which she can’t enjoy creating due to the forbidden nature of emotion, and her teenage sentiments towards a young scientist clearly connect the story to the always-popular adolescent romantic mindset. The combination of these two themes just seems worn out at this point in literary history.
The religious connections throughout the book are, at times, overwhelming. There is a clear negative commentary about science throughout the entire story, as the Scientists have recreated society in their seemingly perfect image using science. However, when that science doesn’t work perfectly, creating irregularities, the imperfections are eliminated from society. On the other hand, when Thalli begins to learn of the Designer, it is very clear that this being, more powerful than the Scientists, is a thinly veiled allusion to Jesus. Thalli, through her knowledge of the Designer and his plans for her, realizes that she has a larger purpose than just to be an emotionless musician in a society led by a bunch wicked scientists.
I can see that this story could reach a distinct audience of parents and young adults who have a distinct belief system and are tired of the adult themes used in the more mainstream young adult science fiction/fantasy novels. The worn out themes combined with the overpowering religious dialogue, however, may stifles the potential that Anomaly has to reach a diverse audience.
After obtaining a Masters in Liberal Arts and Literature Marcus has dedicated most of his time to teaching English Composition for a community college in the Midwest. In his down time, he spends time avidly reading an eclectic selection of books and doing freelance writing whenever he gets the chance. He lives in Kansas with his wife.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Thomas Nelson. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.