Review: Luminary (Anomaly #2) by Krista Mcgee

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Title: Luminary
Author: Krista McGee
Publisher/Year: Nelson Thomas, Inc. 1/7/14
Length: 320 Pages
Series: Anomaly #2

Overview

Thalli thought escaping to the surface would mean freedom. But is she any less of an anomaly aboveground?

After escaping an underground annihilation chamber, Thalli, Berk, Rhen, and John find themselves fleeing across the former United States, aboveground for the first time. As the defectors cross the for gotten landscape, the three youths see things the y had only read about on screens: horses, rain, real books—and a colony of unsanctioned survivors living the ancient way in a town called New Hope.

When the citizens of New Hope reveal the truth of what happened years ago, Thalli is left unsettled and skeptical of everything she’s ever been told. Can she trust anything from the State, including her own feelings for Berk? When she volunteers for a peace mission to New Hope’s violent neighbor, Athens, her confusion mounts as the supposedly ruthless Prince Ale x turns out to be kind and charming. Although everyone in New Hope warned her not to, she can’t help but fall for him.

Meanwhile, John’s unwavering faith in the goodness of the Designer begins to make its mark on Thalli’s heart. But can Thalli really come to trust in a generous, protective Designer who rules over all things? Would that not be setting herself up for another betrayal?

The time for her to decide is now . . . because the State is closing in.

My Thoughts

I cannot believe how quickly i read this second installment to the series and what’s often a blah bridge book, just carrying us over to the finale was in actuality a great segue into what’s coming next.

The epilogue of book one really left us off in an interesting place – seeing that the Scientists had set up Berk, Thalli, Rhen and John to think that they were escaping, but were really continuing the experiment and helping them find a way to get even more power.  Where we go in this installment is on the journey of not only understanding if there’s life above ground and if they can survive, but really learning the truth.

During the trip from below to the place in Texas that is believed to be a surviving colony – we see our travelers get attacked by mutations which really brings survival to another level – and we see the beginnings of a love triangle, which i suppose is necessary in a story like this.  Given the foursome – you know that it’s Thalli and Berk – the love birds from before, with Rhen coming in to the mix – especially since she’s not accustomed to feeling emotion, and things are more serious when they are outside of their bubble.

Aside from all that, when they finally make their way to the survivors, they find that they are going to get quite a lesson on things both past and present.  What the Scientists below knew is that there were surviving scientists that escaped and were most likely living in this community – and that’s what the foursome find.  When finding them, they also get a lesson on what really led to the nuclear war- meaning that it was the direct actions of Dr. Loudin that caused things to happen as they did – and what happens in this series is typical of all other dystopia.  Our leads are forced to question all that they know and make their own choices based on a lack of information on either side.

If that weren’t enough, the colony that they find solace in is about 60 miles away from another community that is ruled by a king that is a tyrant and because they are not able to sustain life, they steal and kill from the peaceful community to live.  It’s because of this that we see things get even more complicated for our friends.

Through a series of events, Thalli volunteers to go to the other city and see what she can do to help negotiate peace.  It’s here that things get dicey – people are killed, mains that we like are injured/maimed/killed and we see the development of yet another love triangle – which really makes us question where things are going to go.

It’s again the way that this story ends that keeps us on our toes and i REALLY love it.  The arrival of another transport and the result of that is what will take us into book 3 – our finale.  There are choices that now have to be made by Thalli, Alex (the new king), Berk and the Scientists and what it means for the future is all in question.

Separately, i have to say that aside from being a true dystopia – there’s a lot of religious theology here – but in a more uplifting way than a preachy way.  What we’ve gotten throughout both books is the under current that G-d is the designer and he will show us what to do and help us survive if that’s the path expected.  While i can’t say that i’m usually thrilled when religion and things of that nature come into my fiction – in the way that this was written, we just get it as a way to build confidence for our characters and really ground them and give them hope.  Since hope is something that we’ve always seen in stories like this – it’s good to have a semi-tangible sense of what they are holding onto – but since it’s different than a lot of other series that i’ve read-  i felt that i needed to call it out.

Anyhow – i’m off to read book 3 since this one was such a page turner for me, and i hope that you enjoy this one and follow me to the finale of the series.  Enjoy!

Review: Anomaly (Anomaly #1) by Krista McGee

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Title: Anamoly
Author: Krista McGee
Publisher/Year: Nelson Thomas, Inc. 7/9/13
Length: 320 Pages
Series: Anomaly #1

Overview

Thalli has fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds to live. The toxic gas that will complete her annihilation is invading her bloodstream. But she is not afraid.

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.

My Thoughts

I’m Intrigued and somewhat impressed that there were more twists to the story than i thought we’d get in this first installment.  What we have here is our usual post apocolyptic story of life after a nuclear war, but the interesting spin on this one is that there are a few spins.

Backing up – our story takes place about 40 years after the world was destroyed by nukes – and in preparation for that war, the government began to develop an underground habitat where the select few (politicians and the sort) would be able to live.  Of course, the war came when most people weren’t prepared, and only The Ten – a group of scientists were able to get to the safe place and they began to set up what would the plan for the next generation.

As part of the evolution, they decided that they needed to genetically create people – no longer were people allowed to have natural children – they were all created in labs in specific generations, with specific roles, all to help the community survive and thrive.  Of course we know there will always be those that don’t conform – they believe or feel things that they weren’t designed to- and that makes people scared.

That’s exactly where Thalli finds herself – she begins to question things more than she should and she feels emotion, and this brings her onto the scientists radar.  When this happens, they decide that it’s more humane and safe to kill those ‘Anomalies’ off and Thallis on the list.

As eluded to in the summary, Berk saves her or tries to.  They have a past – they have been the closest of friends and there’s even a little something more between them however they aren’t programmed to know what ‘love’ is so they haven’t defined it yet.  It’s only when Thalli is under the care of the scientists and is sent ‘above ground’ that she begins to understand what love is and what it can be.

Things aren’t always what they seem though, and what she sees above ground – the reconstruction of the world from a community trying to thrive in the remnants of the nuclear fallout – she’s quick to wonder if it’s for her, and what it will mean for her.

The theory is that life is still not possible on Earth – and seeing Progress-  the town above, she begins to question things.

That’s where twist 1 comes – and i was partially expecting it, but hoping that it wasn’t the case – since a few others that i’ve read in this genre have had similar stories – the world being dead and people can’t survive, yet a few folks go up and figure out a way to live.

Unfortunately, the story twists again even from this point, and it’s the epilogue that surprised me the most.  I think that where the story was ending was a really good jumping off point for book 1 into book 2, but the last chapter, well that threw me for an unexpected loop and i’m really intrigued and excited to see where it goes.  so…now i’m off to find book 2 since i’m sucked in and i hope you guys have either read it already or are with me on picking it up.  Enjoy!