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Review: Freak of Nature by Julia Crane

I had so been looking forward to reading Freak of Nature by Julia Crane. After enjoying Coexist, which I read and reviewed as my book for the letter C soon after starting this blog, I wanted to see what this new series was all about.

Freak of NatureDonate 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.

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When Freak of Nature opens we meet Kaitlyn, a half-robot (at least) science project meant to be a powerful weapon. In truth, her abilities are super cool: speed, accuracy, ability to analyze situations almost instantaneously, the list keeps going on. The scientists tried to erase all that made her human, including her memories and emotions, but try as they might, Kaitlyn has feelings and flashes of a dream, or is it a memory? Who was she before she woke up at IFICS? What is going to happen to her if the scientists find out she’s more than what they programmed? These questions drew me right into Kaitlyn’s plight.

Kaitlyn is such a unique character. Stripped of much of what made much of her human, she has some great idiosyncrasies of not understanding slang, or having echoes of very human feelings like attraction. The descriptions of these human reactions in a robotic system are very clever. Yet, Kaitlyn is still very human, very identifiable to someone not fully sure of what’s going on around her.

Can you imagine being basically trapped in your head, unable to let the people around you know that there is more to you than what’s been programmed, for fear of losing what you have left of yourself?

Fortunately for Kaitlyn, she has an outlet: Quess, the granddaughter of the head scientist who helped create her. Quess is a lifeline for Kaitlyn. I loved both her caring and mentoring attitude towards Kaitlyn, explaining slang and keeping her secrets. Quess in her own way is also a great plot device, helping to move along the relationship between Kaitlyn and Lucas. Awesome, move on the character’s (and author’s) part. Definitely something I would have done at her age…and probably still would do. Then there’s Lucas, brilliant Lucas who wanted to see the girl inside the machine and fell for her before knowing that she was in there. It takes special people to look beyond differences, especially big ones, to see what makes us the same…human.

The IFICS setting is well described, the secure compound is well written down to the trees that provide the occasional blind spot. The piecing together of information from simple statements by scientists and analyzing trees that led Kaitlyn to figure out where they were located among other things adds layers of complexity to the overall place.

Freak of Nature moves at a smooth but quick pace and the ending sets up nicely for an action-filled second book with the hint of a love triangle. I definitely look forward to starting in on Fractured Innocence, Book 2 in the IFICS series.

**I received Freak of Nature via NetGalley. Thank you NetGalley and Indie Inked!**