Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1241
The Good, The Bad, And The Genetically Engineered
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
I'd like to start out addressing those who might miss the name of the publisher and then fault the author. This book is published by Zondervan. Yep, it's right there on the cover. And if you know anything about Zondervan, then you've already figured out this bit of light speculative fiction has a Christian bent to it. If you have hostile feelings toward Christianity, this book is probably not intended for you. I say this because I've come across a number of reviews in which the reader seems offended because they weren't paying enough attention when they picked up the book, and apparently didn't read the jacket cover. (Really...how dare Christian Fiction have such enticing cover art! >.>) So to those who think these sorts of things should come with a caution label... here you go:

WARNING: This book contains Christian content.

Still want to play? Now that that's out of the way...on to the review!

I had fluctuating reactions to this book. It started out with a great pace, intriguing premise, and engaging characters. (I'd generally describe it as 'Kyle XY' meets 'The Island.') I personally find the ethics behind cloning and it's probable abuses to be fascinating. Ever since my high school debate class, when I realized more than half of my fellow students had no moral qualms over the idea of cloning humans for the purpose of medically cannibalizing them for spare parts. But, I digress...

The character of Martyr (Marty) is almost hopelessly endearing from the start, despite having been reared in the equivalent of an underground pharmaceutical concentration camp. His internal thoughts are compellingly childlike as he relates to everything in terms of his excruciatingly limited exposure. His existential growth as a person is both rapid and reasonable. As a heroine, Abby is bright, independent, and forensic-minded. Her CSI perspective was a vaguely morbid quirk that this reader appreciated. And her texting 'fights' with her largely absentee father added a certain authenticity to their dysfunctional relationship.

A few pop-culture references I'm afraid will make the book feel dated in a hurry. Yes, Sarah Palin is twice mentioned: not in any political capacity, fortunately, but in reference to the location of a kickboxing school. That annoyance was minor. What concerned me more—and ultimately reduced my rating for a 4 to a 3—was the sense of heavy-handedness that seemed to begin somewhere after page 80. It was almost as if the author may have lost faith in the reader's ability to come to their own conclusions. This reader began to note the repeated use of the term 'Liberal' and 'Liberal Extremist', courtesy of the heroine's thought-life. I'm not sure how to explain my discomfort with that, other than to say it seemed forced and needlessly hostile. (I just recently dinged a few preachy-feeling stories on the opposite end of this spectrum, so I think I'm being as objective as I can in this instance.) By halfway through, Abby loses a lot of her initial appeal, and the story itself loses it's potential of being a true crossover to mainstream fiction.

Still, the writing style itself is full of promise. I'd be willing to read something else from this author to see how she grows through this experience.
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