Freak of Nature by Julia Crane
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book opens with the boring cliché of the main character, Kaitlyn, looking at herself in the mirror. Even worse, she's hating herself/her reflection because she's a freak. I don't have a problem with angsty self-hate, if it's done right, but don't just tell me that she hates herself. Show me.
There is so much telling in this book (and hardly any showing), I felt like I was being spoonfed how I was supposed to feel. I couldn't make myself care about any of the characters. I felt like I was being talked down to, like I'm not smart enough to make up my own mind about any of this. This is why showing instead of telling is so important: the reader doesn't want to be treated like a child.
Another thing that really annoyed me was the constant, glaring typos. In one sentence, 'soldier' would be spelled correctly and incorrectly ('solider') within a few words. It seems that the author didn't bother with a basic proofread before publishing.
When Kaitlyn is at the shooting range, we are treated to a long, detailed, boring explanation of guns and shooting and stuff that I don't care about. I skipped over it. I get that the author did a bunch of research and wants to show off her knowledge, but I don't care. It's boring. And then this happens: "She continued to shoot the various drills the instructor set-up and explained. Each time, unknown to Kaitlyn, she performed at a world class level, something that took competition shooters years of practice and hundreds of thousands of rounds." In a third person limited POV, we shouldn't ever be told anything that is unknown to the POV character. It's jarringly unrealistic, because if she doesn't know it we shouldn't know it.
For a cyborg with a computer brain that we are constantly told is amazing and intelligent and beyond any human brain, Kaitlyn is really stupid. She doesn't understand slang until they give her a 'slang chip' and the only reason I can think of for this is that the author thought it would be funny if the robot got confused by idiom. Oh, haha. Spoiler: I'm not really laughing. At one point in the story, Kaitlyn is given an iPhone and this happens: " A small square on the screen said ‘Maps.’ Not knowing what else to do, she tapped it. She was surprised when it opened to a map." Are you kidding me? How idiotic is this girl?
The ending is way too easy and happens way too fast. I felt cheated. And then, Kaitlyn is approached by a douchebag at the bowling alley: '“What do you want?” she asked calmly, wishing Lucas would hurry up. “I’m looking at it.” His hand came forward as if he were going to touch her, and without considering whether she was doing the right thing, Kaitlyn grabbed his arm and threw him over her shoulder. He hit the hardwood floor hard on his back, and a long, low moan escaping him.' And Lucas, the man who claims to love her, berates her for this! “I promise. Kate, this is serious. If you do something bad, you could get taken away from me.” She needs to get away from Lucas now. Run away, Kaitlyn. Run far away. And don't look back.
This book really desperately needed a good proofreader and editor before it was published. The storyline was pretty good up until that awful ending, so I gave it 2 stars because I can see what it could have been. It's just so disappointing that it fell short of its potential.
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