Sunday, February 10, 2013
Review: Freak of Nature (IFICS, #1) by Julia Crane
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. ~ Goodreads
Kaitlyn is a human/cyborg hybrid who's memories have been wiped and her humanity stripped away after a deadly accident. Yet she can still feel unbeknownst to her owners, a shady organization called IFICS (which is Sci Fi spelled backwards). Kaitlyn reminded me of Data from Star Trek: TNG. I love that whole set up of a machine that is supposed to be cold and heartless struggling with emotions like love. It's both sad and humorous as she tries to meld those two worlds together. For example, although Kaityln is brilliant she doesn't understand commonly used phrases so the scientists upgrade her with a slang chip so she can blend into society better.
Lucas is the scientist that programmed her but is having second thoughts now that he believes there still might be a real girl inside. For some reason from the summary I pictured Lucas as a good looking but geeky type and I was looking forward to their awkward exchanges and slow building romance but the lusty thoughts come on fast and furious once he learns Kaitlyn's secret.
This is where Freak of Nature didn't work for me. I wouldn't say it was insta-love between Lucas and Kaitlyn but it was hot and heavy. One kiss and they're inseparable. This is definitely a YA but their thoughts of each other teeter on the side of New Adult - she envisions licking down his body etc, not to mention that Kaitlyn can sense that men are aroused around her - it happens a lot. I don't know why but the mix of innocence with the more overt sexual tone didn't work for me. I do want to point out that it wasn't overly graphic, mostly implied. I was not offended at all - I like my sexy times! - I just felt like it was too much for the overall tone of this book.
I also felt like there was a missed opportunity to address several moral issues. The romance takes over what could have been an intriguing plot exploring tampering with human life, altering memories without consent, creating cyborgs as weapons…It's all touched on but is second to the romance.
I have mixed feelings about this book. When I was enjoying it I couldn't put it down but there were several lulls and as we head to the big conclusion the focus of the plot abruptly switches gears which I believe is a set up for the next book but left me disappointed. A new, very important character was introduced with little to no fanfare and I felt like I missed a few pages. There is also a "To be continued…" Not a huge cliffhanger or anything but an abrupt ending.
Final thoughts: This was a short novel, at about 167 pages on my Kindle, and I'm glad I read it but I wish it was either longer so the author could really explore this fascinating world she created in depth or spent less time setting up the next book. At $2.99 I would give it a try if you were a fan of Cinder by Marissa Myer, Eve & Adam by Michael Grant or enjoy sci-fi with a heavy dose of romance.
Author: Website | Twitter
Source: Purchased – Kindle version
Buy the book! Freak of Nature
Julia is participating in a huge multi author Kindle Fire/Amazon/Paypal Gift Card Giveaway – you can check it out here. Ends 2/28/13