Krista McGee's "Anomaly
" was one of my favorite books of 2013, and I had been looking forward to this sequel since the moment I turned that final page. Let's recap quickly: Thalli was born in an underground State run by scientists after most of the world destroyed itself in nuclear war. Humans are now genetically engineered for specific career fields, and their emotions have been eliminated. It's a sterile and perfunctory enviroment. But Thalli is an anomaly. She feels emotions, and knows if the scientists found out they would annihilate her. As the pod musician, Thalli has a great outlet for processing her feelings, but it's only a matter of time before her differences are discovered. Go read my review
for more details, but trust me: it's amazing!
"Luminary" opens after Thalli, Berk, Rhen, and John have made an escape from the State. They know their search for pockets of nuclear war survivors will take weeks, and John's age is a factor they must take into consideration. Thalli does not act like herself at all through the first portion of this book, and that was disappointing to me. Berk explains later in the book that the drugs pumped into her system at her attempted annihilation were likely affecting her judgment, but it was off-putting to me. It seemed that Thalli been replaced by Katniss Everdeen, who is an outstanding heroine in her own right, but she's not the Thalli I had grown to love. Thankfully Thalli did recover her spunk, although the storyline continued to have "Catching Fire" undertones which had me scratching my head.
When our group reaches the village of New Hope, they are welcomed with open arms. It's a new experience for Berk, Rhen, and Thalli to meet people who have always lived above ground. John is rapturous. Our foursome make friends and begin to settle in, but all is not peaceful in New Hope. The neighboring village, Athens, is technologically advanced but land-poor and unable to grow their own food. Their frequent attacks on the farming settlement are growing more and more violent, especially when New Hope begins harboring refugees who have sought protection from King Jason's ruthless dictatorship. A major conflict between the two groups is imminent, and Thalli and the other newcomers want to do whatever they can to help. Thalli volunteers to infiltrate Athens as a spy, and over loud protests by some in the group, it's agreed that she do so.
Pretending she is just then fleeing the State, Thalli is welcomed into Athens and even into the palace, where King Jason wants to get to know her and find out everything she can tell him about the distant underground entity. Prince Alex, who is near Thalli's age, becomes a fast friend and he is able to show her all around their factories and businesses. Athens seems so peaceful, but why are they resisting all talks of peace with New Hope and growing more brutal with each attack? Will Thalli be able to be the ambassador she hopes to be, or will she be a casualty of the mind control that King Jason wields over all his subjects?
My favorite part of this story was seeing Thalli learn and grow in her relationship with God, whom she calls the Designer. She comes to depend on Him, pray more fervently to Him, and even meditate on His Word in this story. John continues shepherding her young faith, which was very touching. Since she had never known anything about the Bible before, it was neat to see her really thinking and studying the verses John shared with her. I also loved the few scenes where Thalli was able to play a violin and work through her emotions in that familiar way. Those are beautifully written.
"Luminary" ends on quite a cliffhanger. The good news is that the final book in this series comes out in just a few months, so we won't have to wait too long for it. Thalli is going to be tested beyond anything she's endured before... and I will be there to see where she finds herself in the end!I received my copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for this honest review. All opinions are my own.