A Review of Freak of Nature (IFICS #1), by Julia Crane

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Donate Body to Science. Check.
When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body–stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was.

Kaitlyn finds an unlikely ally in Lucas, a handsome, brilliant scientist who can’t get over the guilt he feels knowing she was once a vibrant, beautiful young woman. He never expected a science project to affect him the way she does. As he tries to help her rediscover her past, he finds himself falling for the brave girl struggling to find her place and acceptance between the human and computer worlds.

– – – – –

Rating: 2/5 Stars (let’s say 2.5 though)
Quick Reasons: flat, boring plot for first 1/3rd of book; quick, blink-and-you-miss-it action in the last portion; world-building falls flat and is rather confusing at times; scientific details left out or unexplained; no sense of connection to characters or story

“You make my body feel like it’s revving up when I am standing still.”

There are a lot of things I don’t like about this book. They outweigh the few things I DID like, so I guess I’ll start with those, yes?

The cover for this book (and this series, to be honest) is absolutely gorgeous. When I first started looking into this book, I fell immediately in love with the cover—I mean really, it’s just so unique and pretty. The colors are engaging and eye-catching, the pose isn’t one I’ve seen on covers much, and the entire tone is just… Sci Fi. Mystery. I NEEDED to read it, even before I read the blurb. The blurb only helped to further my desire to pick this up. So when Amazon had it on “free” pricing, I snatched it real quick. I wasn’t about to let the chance pass me by.

The prose is decently done: it reads quickly, and is easy to follow. Kaitlyn, in her cyborg obliviousness, had some pretty awesome and entertaining one-liners; the snark in those moments made me WISH she was like that all the time and on purpose, instead of just when she was confused. I was intrigued by the story: there were some elements I’d never seen done before, and I was desperate to know what happened next, but… That’s about where the “like” stopped for me. Because the first third of this book? Boring. Absolutely nothing of interest happens, except we learn: 1. She’s part robot after some sort of tragic accident that almost killed her; 2. She still feels things though she’s been upgraded and programmed not to; 3. She’s attracted to Lucas, boy computer genius and programmer extraordinaire. No, really. That’s what we learn. Or, at least, those are seemingly the most important things we learn. It’s hard to tell, really, because the author doesn’t put emphasis on anything—everything we learn is the same flat, monotone, robotic NESS.

“You shouldn’t let a train track decide if you are good or bad.”

And even when the action begins, when things start unravelling… It all falls very, very flat. There are few descriptors, the prose isn’t beautiful but more “simplistic,” there is nothing to connect readers to the character, the world, or the story at all. Even the few “plot twists” are not twists but just more dredge piled atop an already crumbling, muddy mountain.

The worst is the world building, and the science. I’ve always HATED when people are like, “the science in this book stinks!” or “the science here doesn’t make any sense!” I always felt that those people were reading TOO MUCH into the book, looking for ways to connect the science they know and love with a made-up, fantastical world’s rules… But this book. THIS BOOK. This book made me understand a little of what they’re going through. I mean… The one thing that really got me, was the “downloaded memories.” She’s part robot? With a computer chip instead of a brain, apparently? HOW THE HELL can you download the memories of her previous life, like they’re so much computer data?!?! There are other examples, but that one. That one left me reeling. Because it’s true: It makes absolutely no sense.

I think I would have LOVED this read… if things had been written better. Instead, this mostly focuses on Kaitlyn’s “obsession” with boy genius Lucas, their “fall” into romance, and the different ways she’s so unique she can bypass even the strongest emotional overrides. None of this, of course, is explained in an adequate and logical way. Because she’s special. Because that’s just the way it is. Because Julia Crane couldn’t come up with any better way to do this aside from just throwing story telling out the window and doing whatever the hell she wanted to. (Okay, that’s a bit harsh, but…. Ick)

It was amazing that such beauty existed, and yet there was such ugliness in the world.

Overall, I just really didn’t like this book. Of course, that doesn’t mean you won’t! If you’re into sci fi, robots/cyborgs, forbidden love, and science that doesn’t have to make sense, maybe give this one a shot! I don’t recommend it, though—it just wasn’t the read for me.

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