Anomaly by Krista McGee

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

About the Book:
Author: Krista McGee
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2013
Series: Anomaly, Book One
Genre: Fiction; Young Adult/Teen, Series, Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★ ½

Ever since the rage of The Hunger Games caught on, dystopia fiction has become a broken record craze in the world of YA fiction. Specifically, the secular world has been a hive of popularity for this genre to succeed to the point that it's overplayed its hand with clich├ęs. 

Christian fiction has been leery of the genre. Despite that, I’ll admit to being interested in several fandoms plus I practically squealed when learning that Christian authors were about to foray into the once uncharted territory that was futuristic fiction. Krista is a talented author so I knew the genre would be well represented from the start, and you know what? Anomaly certainly proves the reasons why Krista McGee is a bright light in the YA fiction scene. 

Because it’s a dystopian world destroyed from a nuclear war (which is really quite terrifying if a reader ponders the possibilities too long), the characters aren’t so much relatable as they are products of their environment. In other words, the first person narrative is more about its protagonist, Thalli trying to purpose the reason she is an “anomaly.” As a genetically altered product (a “Pod C” generation), Thalli isn’t supposed to emotionally react or feel or think beyond what she was designed to do – and her role in her Pod is that of a musician. Much of the story is told “in summary,” as we read through Thalli’s fears, questions and emotions of acting out, yet she rarely does – unable to distinguish between what’s “real” and what’s a stimulation.

Setting itself apart from its peers is the inspiration message Krista weaves into this story. It's done effortlessly, and in consideration of 17-year-old Thalli’s curious nature, it was not hard to believe she’d seek the identity of The Designer. Who he is and why He's more powerful than the Scientists in control of their “below” world. Frightening in its underpinnings, the faith of Thalli and her consuming, beautiful connections to God – through music, is powerfully depicted and was probably the most emotional element in the narrative. The fear doesn’t appear in overt instances but as we read chapter after chapter, it becomes more obvious that nothing is quite as it seems – our minds switch out possibilities often and spend a good deal of time wondering what alternative is the real thing. Paring it down to its most basic level, this book is kinda awesome. Everything is exactly how one would imagine the best kind of dystopia fiction should experience – the character’s names are unique and the setting is appropriately impersonal. This then leads us to the prose.

If there would be one negative of the story, it’s the writing. Don’t misunderstand; McGee writes an excellent story, it’s just that because of the sci-fi vibes, the “voice” in the story is a bit abrupt, less poetic. Not sure this can be branded as a “con” considering, it has a purpose: it’s lending to the idea of an impersonal, logical world without feeling or belief in anything other than science or the “design” of what each Pod Mate was created to accomplish. Having anticipated this novel since learning of its existence, Anomaly DID NOT disappoint. It’s a fast read (cannot remember the last time I buzzed through a book so quickly) that literally leaves us hanging on its last words, wondering why its sequel isn’t already on our doorstep. Any reader knows that a sign of a great book is one that makes its reader wish that yearlong sequel watch weren’t so far away. In the meantime, this is one reader who is likely to reserve a spot for part one of Thalli’s journey on her keeper shelf.

Synopsis: Decades before Thalli’s birth, the world was decimated by a nuclear war. But life continued deep underground, thanks to a handful of scientists known as The Ten. There they created genetically engineered human beings who are free of emotions in the hope that war won’t threaten the world again.

Thalli is an anomaly, born with the ability to feel emotions and a sense of curiosity she can barely contain. She has survived so far by hiding her differences. But then her secret is discovered when she’s overwhelmed by the emotion of an ancient piece of music.

The Ten quickly schedule her annihilation, but her childhood friend, Berk - a scientist being groomed by The Ten - convinces them to postpone her death and study her instead. While in the Scientists’ Pod, Thalli and Berk form a dangerous alliance, one strictly forbidden by the constant surveillance.

As her life ticks a way, she hears rumors of someone called the Designer - someone even more powerful than The Ten. What’s more, the parts of her that have always been an anomaly could in fact be part of a much larger plan. And the parts of her that she has always guarded could be the answer she’s been looking for all along.
Thalli must sort out what to believe and who to trust, before her time runs out. - Goodreads

Coming Next from Krista McGee: She was an anomaly with a death sentence. Now she's free.

Thalli was scheduled for annihilation. She was considered an anomaly--able to experience emotions that should have been eradicated by genetic modification. The Scientists running the State couldn't allow her to bring undue chaos to their peaceful, ordered world. But seconds before her death, she is rescued.

Now Thalli is above ground in a world she thought was destroyed. A world where not even the air is safe to breathe. She and her three friends must journey across this unknown land, their destination a hidden civilization. It's their only chance of survival.

Broken and exhausted after an arduous journey, they arrive in New Hope, a town that survived the nuclear holocaust. When Thalli meets the people there--people actually "born" to "families"--her small world is blown wide open.

Soon after their arrival to New Hope, the town comes under attack. She has escaped imminent death, but now Thalli is thrust into a new fight--a fight to save her new home. Does she know enough about this world of emotions, this world of chaos, to save not only herself, but the people she has come to love? – via Goodreads, January 2014
With thanks to Litfuse and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes


  1. Love your review, Rissi! I really need to read this book. I'm not usually into dystopian, but this looks like it has all the right ingredients. :)

    1. Ever since reading The Hunger Games (which I will admit I caved and read out of pure curiosity - but it is a troubling premise), this is a genre that has grown on me - a lot. If done right, it's quite interesting. Have you read or seen the novel, The Selection around, Rebeka? Read that one last summer and REALLY liked it - so much better than HG ever was. 'Selection' has some elements of HG (people are broken into the "class" of their talent) but is more charming (more fairy-tale elements) plus the author was supposedly inspired by the Biblical story of Esther which is neat.

      If you decide to read this one, I wish you happy reading. :)

  2. I'm a huge Hunger Games fan so this is interesting! Good review!

    1. Ooo! Then you'd probably enjoy this book, Leah! It's definitely reminiscent of that - or at least it has that same "flavor."

      Thanks for reading! :)

  3. The dystopian genre has really been flourishing lately! Never have we had so much books in this genre. But Anomaly particularly sounds like the kind I would read. I'll have to try and get my hands on it sometime. And the cover design...absolutely stunning! (I may or may not be judging a book by its cover.)

    1. Right on, Jemimah - that cover is GORGEOUS! Love it also.

      Yay! If you read this one, hope you like it. The difference is the Christianity and I like how Krista wove it into the creativeness of the dystopian genre.

  4. So glad that you like this one!! I'm really excited about reading it's sequel next year! Great review.

    1. Me, too, Kellie! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I have to say "ditto!" again - CANNOT wait for book two. Is it really a year from now?! ;)

      Hope things are going well in your part of the world.

  5. I can't wait to read this one! I have loved The Giver since I read it decades ago, so I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy this one. (I loved the Hunger Games too :). Thanks for the review!

    1. Yippee, Jamie - this means I will be on the lookout for reports from you once you finally read Anomaly. It should be one you'll enjoy since you did HG. Definitely has a similar vibe.

      Happy reading!

      Thanks also for stopping by and the comment - appreciate both. :)

  6. I enjoyed the Hunger Games, despite the disturbing aspects, so I'm very excited to read this series since it has a Christian viewpoint! Thanks for the review!

    1. Then you'd really like this one also, Lizzie! It's got that same concept, only the "troubling" parts are more subtle than HG's overt themes.

      The Christianity is the best part - Thalli is pretty awesome in her thirst for seeking out God. Enjoy! :)

  7. I haven't really been interested in any of the dystopian novels out there. I tried Divergent, didn't really like it, and figured it just wasn't the genre for me. But something about this book caught my eye! As you know, I've had it in my possession for some time now. So why haven't I read it yet? No idea. But I really want to! Especially after this lovely review. Maybe it'll happen this weekend!

    Great review, Rissi. :)

    1. Gearing up to read Divergent soon, Kara. Hopefully before its major motion picture release. Sorry it didn't work for you. I know what you mean about some genres not being "right" for a reader though. That is certainly the case with many of us readers.

      Reading Anomaly this weekend sounds like an epically good plan - don't know how much I'll be around this weekend but give me a shout-out if you do. I'm anxious for your thoughts.

      Thanks for reading. :)


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