Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Freak of Nature (IFICS #1) by Julia Crane

Release Date: February 2, 2013
Publisher: Valknut Press
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads |

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.

I was drawn to the book by the cool cover. I mean, how can you not love that? You can't. Really, great job to whoever came up with it.
As for what's inside? Well, it was entertaining enough for me to want to finish it (which is my personal requirement to earn three stars), but it was missing that something that makes a story awesome. 

There's a lot of moral ambiguity in the characters, which kind of makes it hard to love or hate anyone. Even the evil scientists aren't super-duper bad. Or good. 
Take the love interest, Lucas, for example. I wanted to like him, but he just came off as a total creeper at first. He switches back and forth between helping Kaitlyn and helping his boss so many times, that by the end of the book I really couldn't work up any warm fuzzy feelings for the guy. Sorry. Just not exactly what I was looking for in my next book-boyfriend.
But there was no one to really hate enough to make the guy look good, either. Even the head of the evil corporation wasn't so bad by the end of the book.
Quasi-evil. Not evil enough.
Maybe that's what the author was going for, but it didn't work for me.
It might be different for someone who is just absolutely into stories about cyborgs. Like I said, it was entertaining enough to want to finish, so you might have a different experience with the characters than I did.

At far as the plot goes, it had a lot of interesting ideas. Kaitlyn donated her body to science, but assumed that she would be dead when they used it. Well, she did die, but these guys managed to bring her back and turn her into a top secret project. None of the scientists realize that she has retained any of her old self, and Kaitlyn isn't about to let them in on it. She believes (rightly) that if she betrays any of her emotions they will erase the rest of her personality. She has very few memories of her former life left, mostly just feelings and a few leftover bits of dreams. 
Her one friend and ally is the granddaughter of one of the scientists working on her project, a young girl named Quess. Quess is the one who warned her not to let on about her lingering personality, and she is the only one who is willing to help Kaitlyn figure out her past.
Lucas is the young hot-shot researcher who came up with all of the programming for  Kaitlyn's project. He waffles back and forth between guilt over what they've done to her, and pride that he did such a good job in the first place. Also, he thinks she's hot.

There's no real urgency to the story, because Kaitlyn seems to accept her fate. Even when she escapes, it's not really because she decided that she'd had enough. I think I would have liked it better if she was a bit more angry at her circumstances, and lashed out at the people responsible. 
Anyhoo. The ending has a decent sense of closure to it, but it looks like this one is the first in a series, so I'm sure there are more stories to come about these characters.


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