A Review of Adaline, by Denise Kawaii


Goodreads Rating: 4.13 Stars
291 pages
Self-Published by Denise Kawaii
Find it here!

He may look identical to the hundreds of other Boys that surround him, but there is something different about Boy 1124562. When he closes his eyes in the quiet of his sensor-filled cube his mind doesn’t go blank like the rest of his brothers. Instead, 1124562 dreams.

With the help of a rogue teacher, 1124562 discovers that there is more to Adaline than brushed steel and robotic Nurses. When a Boy suddenly escapes the secure pod, it seems that all of Adaline is on a hunt for anyone with an anomaly. When 1124562 finds himself strapped to a table, the threat of an electric current pressed against his temples to erase his mind, he realizes just how dangerous being different can be.

– – – – –

Quick Reasons: some weird grammatical issues/missing words; intriguing, thought-provoking plot; a lot more “science” than “action”; an interesting exploration of cloning/utopias; one-gender society; complex characters

Although he didn’t know much about the differences between humans and machines, he was sure that it must be difficult or impossible to reprogram a malfunctioning human.

Once again, I’m bringing on the weird books. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this one as much as I’d hoped going in. There’s a sort of…rigid, formal, and strict prose happening in these pages that made this read a bit dull and overly scientific in certain instances. There was a lot more focus on the technological aspects of Adaline, the world being built, and even dreams than there was upon action, mystery, or thrilling adventure. While there IS action, mystery, and adventure happening…it felt as if a lot of that got bogged down with the heavy language, often weird grammatical issues, and missing words. If you like your reads to be polished, with little mistakes, this might not be the book for you to pick up.

The characters, on the other hand, were vibrant despite the weird language and writing. Boy 62 and Man 71 in particular leaped off the pages, their interactions both mentoring and teeth-achingly sweet at the same time. I really enjoyed watching 62 navigate the confines of his strict, rigid utopia—and discover that there’s more to being human than just following the rules, despite what’s being said by those in charge. 62 in particular was a complex and often flawed character, and I adored seeing the ways he grew and changed throughout the course of this read.

My brothers asked them why he wasn’t moving, and they told us that he died. I asked one of them if they would repair him and bring him back and he told me that humans can’t be repaired like machines. That death is like turning off a switch that can’t be turned back on.

However, I felt there might be TOO much information being conveyed here, and not nearly enough explanation, if that makes sense. While we get a lot of science and technology—particularly centered around the idea of “anomalies”–we don’t get much in way of world-building or explanations for how the human race ended up in Adaline, a world of machines and man. We aren’t told why the cloning first began, with Boy 001…or why the only gender is male in this world. In the end, I didn’t feel like we were given many of the “hard” answers at all—instead, the focus was upon Boy 62, his dreams, and the way this utopia fell apart the instant something threatened it.

I also didn’t find myself thinking of our characters as completely human. While they are, and remain throughout, flesh and blood beings…the way the prose is structured, so rigid and strict, doesn’t leave much room for imaginative or concisely-written descriptions. Someone mentioned, in a different review I glanced over before writing this, that they didn’t think there was enough imagination happening in this read. I agree—this world feels stiff, unbending, and quite a bit like plastic. While I was intrigued by and curious to learn about the world…I didn’t really care much for the characters, or find myself rushing through the pages to learn what happened next.

71’s cheeks spread into a soft and reassuring smile. “Don’t get lost in the terror of the mad Man’s dream, Brother. Use your imagination to expand your mind and do good in Adaline. Without imagination we are nothing but a collection of cogs helping to turn the wheels in a giant Machine. It is our dreams, our loves and desires, that make us Men.

Overall, this was an interesting read…but perhaps a bit TOO formal/strict for my tastes. The weird grammatical blips and missing/extra words made deciphering some of the sentences a chore; the characters were vibrant, but still somehow flat in the end. I would still recommend to lovers of science fiction, cloning, and utopias—it just perhaps wasn’t the right fit for me personally.


One thought on “A Review of Adaline, by Denise Kawaii

  1. Pingback: Sunday Post (#5) – betwixt-the-pages

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