Thalli has fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds left to live. The toxic gas that will complete her annihilation is invading her bloodstream. But she is not afraid.Thalli is different than others in The State. She feels things. She asks questions. And in the State, this is not tolerated. The Ten scientists who survived the nuclear war that destroyed the world above believe that emotion was at the core of what went wrong—and they have genetically removed it from the citizens they have since created. Thalli has kept her malformation secret from those who have monitored her for most of her life, but when she receives an ancient piece of music to record as her community’s assigned musician, she can no longer keep her emotions secreted away.
Seen as a threat to the harmony of her Pod, Thalli is taken to the Scientists for immediate annihilation. But before that can happen, Berk—her former Pod mate who is being groomed as a Scientist—steps in and persuades the Scientists to keep Thalli alive as a test subject.
The more time she spends in the Scientist’s Pod, the clearer it becomes that things are not as simple as she was programmed to believe. She hears stories of a Designer—stories that fill her mind with more questions: Who can she trust? What is this emotion called love? And what if she isn’t just an anomaly, but part of a greater design?
Before I start the review, I want to make it clear that my review will be biased and I will not attempt hide this in any shape or form. I am not the intended audience for this novel (deeply, devout Christian teens). Despite how naïve this may be, I do not believe that religious novels should only be read and appreciated by religious people. I have read novels written to and by people of many faiths and have enjoyed some of them. I’ve seen that the main issue of these sorts of books is not the presence of religion but the fact that the authors seem to make religion a singular focus in a book instead of simply an influential aspect of the book.
Despite the genre, books should always have strong characterization and an engaging plot, not to mention being well-written. Anomaly has none of these three things. The characters are pitiful cardboard cutouts that bear little to no resemblance to actual people. The main character, Thalli, is the one of the only characters that actually has emotions yet it would be impossible to tell had it not been for her constant reminder of how superior she was. One of the supporting characters’, John, only purpose in life is to preach to Thalli. The plot was one dimensional and boring.
Anomaly had a strong beginning, as far as dystopias go. It’s set in a futuristic world, destroyed by a nuclear war. Thalli’s society lives underground and is ruled by ten scientists. These scientists have genetically designed human beings to have no emotions, since they believed emotions were the downfall of civilization and the reason for the war. Not much background is given for the book nor any concrete world building. It seems like everyone is white, cisgender, and heterosexual, though. Not that sexuality matters because neither romance nor sex occurs in these Pods.
It wasn’t perfect, but it was engaging enough. If the book continued the way it started, it could have easily gotten a decent 2.5 – 3. But alas, it was not meant to be and around 100 pages in, the dreaded preaching came in.
Religion is totally okay in books, I am completely fine with it. However, I cannot tolerate excessive preaching in novels. The main reason I couldn’t enjoy Warm Bodies was because of the overwhelming feelings of being lectured to. I cannot stand that. I don’t want a book where I feel physically uncomfortable reading it because there isn’t a page where a character isn’t preaching about God. I expected religion to play a major part in the book, but instead it was the only driving force in the novel.
If only McGee had more skill in writing, this book may have been saved. But, sadly, her writing is as bland and lifeless as her plot and characters. It’s emotionless and boring, as McGee seems to have little skill in the art of storytelling.
Anomaly was an extremely disappointing way to start the new year with. I can’t say I’ll be reading any of McGee’s books again, nor any subsequent books in the Anomaly series.