Freak of Nature (IFICS #1) by Julia Crane

Published: 9th January 2013
Goodreads badgePublisher: Valknut Press
Pages: 284
Format: ebook
Genre: Young Adult/Science Fiction
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Note: I was provided a copy for review

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.

*For mature teens due to some sexual content.

I really enjoyed this book. The story Crane has created and the characters and environment she has developed is one that is not only engaging, but also one that keeps you reading. I found it very hard to put this book down, always wanting to keep the story going, follow where the narrative was taking me and what these characters were doing.

What I often find myself thinking about with books is whether they are plot driven or character driven. I am tempted to say this is character driven, but coupled with this is an equally interesting plot. As you read you become invested in Kaitlyn, all her thoughts, her attempt to hide the fact she has emotions from those around her, and the conflicts she has dealing with her new technology filled body. You also discover Kaitlyn has been designed for a purpose, and we gradually discover what that purpose is. The balance between plot and character is excellent and Crane manages to use both to draw the reader along at just the appropriate moments.

The pace of the novel is well executed; there is a gradual build up filled with interest, curiosity, and even minor suspense. The narrative is one that while it seems not a lot is going on, a lot is, and as a result it pulls you along and you want to know what is happening, what has happened, and what will happen.

The narrative focus switches from Kaitlyn to Lucas on occasion, something which is also balanced well. You don’t need a lot of Lucas’ point of view to tell the story, Kaitlyn’s is the perspective that you want to follow, but Lucas provides readers with the other side, how people view Kaitlyn not just how she views and acts around them. One of the great aspects of Crane’s writing is how she has demonstrated the robotic aspects of Kaitlyn and how they conflict or differ from the human mind that has remained. The duality is clearly shown but there is no overload on technical aspects, but there also isn’t so little that you forget they are there or that make the story seem unconvincing.

What I enjoyed most about reading Crane’s story was Kaitlyn’s character. Kaitlyn is interesting because despite the fact she has emotions, she is not entirely human, there is a lot of technology that makes up her system and this is evident in her conversations with people, how she interprets certain situations around her, and how her body responds. She is highly logical and with the mind of a machine she is able to act and interpret things quickly, but there is still a part of her that is unable to fully grasp all of the human and social complexities. While she has the emotions of a human, she lacks the capacity to fully understand their meaning, and while she understands the language just fine, the confusion regarding colloquialisms and slang remind us that she is still mostly machine and that certain phrases and actions have no meaning to her. The best comparison I could come up with was it is like understanding the language but not the local phrases, while also seeing the entire human race as a foreign species. It is wonderfully done.

I liked the ending, it was a slight surprise but it made sense, it suited the story. It rounded off the entire novel well and leaves room to continue into the next book. Crane has done a wonderful job with this novel, she manages to explore a great idea through great writing and great characters in a way that even in the last few chapters keep you guessing and learning more and by the end leaves you eager to see where the next book will lead.

Purchase Fatal Abduction via the following

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