Series: Anomaly #1
Release Date: July 9, 2013
- A somewhat detached narration style. Because of the world that Thalli has been brought up in, her general tone is somewhat detached and clinical. Even though Thalli is an anomaly and feels emotions, she has been raised to believe that they are wrong, so she holds them back. Sometimes she feels something in an overwhelming manner, but more often she seems to have somewhat fleeting feelings that she analyzes or doubts. This actually made a lot of sense for her character, but it sometimes led to reactions that made me scratch my head (for instance, Thalli’s response to the fact that she’s going to be annihilated seems very logical and clinical, which didn’t seem to match with her earlier responses to things). Still, overall, I liked Thalli and I did think that her semi-detached responses probably made sense due to her upbringing.
- Confusing science. At the end of the book, one of the characters was supposed to help solve a major scientific problem by going into a virtual reality world created by Thallie’s music. I just didn’t get it. I had to simply suspend disbelief during this part because I was completely confused.
- Thalli’s musical interpretation of life. Thalli was designed to be a musician and this colors her entire interpretation of the world around her. I love how she hears everyone’s voices as different instruments and how she composes her life into musical compositions (even when she has no way of actually playing them). I could almost hear these orchestrations as she described them because they were so vivid!
- Berk. Berk was a breath of fresh air in the world of clinical scientists. While he was still a scientist, of course, I loved that he actually felt something for Thalli (and didn’t see himself as an anomaly because of it). The connection between Thalli and Berk was forged when they were kids and I found myself enchanted by them and was definitely rooting for the two of them to end up together.
- The depiction of Christianity. This book is definitely a Christian novel at its heart. Christian themes are explored and scripture is even quoted occasionally. This might be an issue for some people. I appreciated the way that Christianity was portrayed in this book, though – I was surprised by the fact that the book didn’t come off as preachy to me, even when John was really sort of instructing Thalli on theology. I also thought that the way that Thalli’s faith developed was interesting and believable. She didn’t immediately believe everything that John told her, but she eventually came to believe in God based on her own experiences of him. Then there are points in the book where Thalli isn’t at all sure what’s real and what’s not. She starts to doubt everything – her feelings for Berk, her new found belief in God – she can’t trust her senses and she has to completely depend on faith. All of this made for a journey that I think the average person can relate to.
- The ending. The book ended with a fantastic twist that completely changed how I viewed everything that had happened in the book. It definitely made me want to pick up book #2 and start reading right away!!
Series: Anomaly #2
Release Date: January 7, 2014
- Thalli’s personality change. I don’t know what happened to Thalli! At the beginning of this book, she was just so bitter and negative – not to mention jealous. I suddenly didn’t like her very much and I couldn’t understand why she’d had such a sudden shift in her personality. I did understand that she was feeling guilty and I understood the jealousy (to some extent), but I just couldn’t see why she suddenly became so completely negative and withdrawn and it bugged me! I will say that she got better later, but I was having a hard time connecting with Thalli for at least the first quarter of the book.
- Thalli and Berk (and Alex). Darn! Just when I thought that Thalli and Berk would get to have a little bit of happiness, it was completely thwarted by Thalli’s attitude. Instead of becoming closer to each other after their escape from the State, they just grew further and further apart. And I just didn’t exactly understand why. Thalli seemed to distance herself from Berk for seemingly no reason and he didn’t do much to stop her. When they did finally try to talk out their problems, they both got mad before anything was really even said – and again I just didn’t understand why. It seemed like the conflict was a bit forced – just a plot device to make way for a love triangle with Alex (who I will talk a bit more about in the next section).
- Life on the outside. I loved the people that Thalli and company found on the outside. The fact that there were scientists who didn’t agree with the Ten (the scientists that had established the State) made me give a sigh of relief (otherwise the series could have seemed pretty anti-science). I thought it was very interesting that there was conflict on the outside, just like the Ten had always warned about. It made Thallie have to take a real look at freedom vs. safety and predictability.
- Alex and Athens. When Thalli finds New Hope she discovers that life there is not entirely peaceful. In fact, New Hope is being terrorized by a nearby settlement called Athens. Thalli decides to go to Athens to try to broker peace (or spy and get information that could help New Hope) and there she meets Prince Alex. This is where the love triangle comes in. I have to tell you that it took me quite a while to warm up to Alex and I wasn’t at all thrilled about the idea of a love triangle, but he did win me over somewhat in the end. By the end of the book, I was a bit torn about who Thalli should end up with, which I think was exactly what McGee intended.
- The suspense and action. This book had a lot more action and suspense than the first book did, which kept it exciting! And we were left with a cliff-hanger ending that leaves us wanting more!!