Freaks of Nature (The Psion Chronicles #1) by Wendy Brotherlin
The global Ebola-X
pandemic of 2022 lasted five months, two weeks, and six days before a
cure could be found. In its wake, it left a generation of psionic
freaks, who can turn a single thought into a weapon...or worse.
Fifteen-year-old Devon McWilliams is one of those freaks, but Devon
rates a big fat zero on the scale of cool psychic abilities. Days after
escaping from his psionic detainment facility, the military intercepts
him. Regaining consciousness, Devon finds himself restrained aboard a
military airship headed toward certain death. Aboard this one-way flight
to doom are six other psions. One of them, a telepath named Bai Lee
Chen, claims to have the means to escape. All the others have to do is
convince her that they're worthy of freedom by allowing her to
telepathically replay their memories. The last thing Devon wants to do
is reveal his useless plant-talking prowess to this
destroy-you-with-a-thought crew. To complicate matters further, he's
crushing hard on Alya, the group's lovely healer. Devon knows he must
keep his wits about him if he's going to survive this wild ride. And
that's going to be a tricky thing to do around a telepath who seems to
have a diabolical agenda all her own.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Okay I am going to be honest, until I hit 90% of the story, I wasn't sure what the plot was. Yeah, okay they were "captured by the feds" and to get their freedom, they had to tell their stories. But I thought that wouldn't be enough to carry an entire story. And I was right, even though that was the entire story.
We start off with Devon getting captured and meeting the rest of the rag tag crew that is also captured by feds. Then Bai Lee challenges them to replay their memories of right before they escaped/got captured in order to determine if she would help them escape the confinements of the feds and help them be free. And then the rest of the book was hearing everyone else's stories.
Vahn starts with his story which was the longest and by far my favourite. It is always nice to have a bit of role reversal and having the guy escape to find the girl rather than the other way around. Vahn is super powerful and has a strong personality. He is a natural born leader (and personally I think he would have made a better leader than Devon). I do hope he finds Emily and doesn't die.
Nevada/Alison was interesting but I would have liked more of an explanation of the rest of her back story. I feel like it was a weird place to start when it could have expanded on her father using her for political gains and all three of her marriages. It seemed like a cheap look into a fraction of her life rather than actually giving her a chance to define herself. Considering how long Vahn's story was, I was a little disappointed that Nevada's story wasn't longer than what it was.
Alya and Alek were not interesting to me at all. She can heal and he has dual ability. They felt like bad knock offs of the Maximoff twins from the X-Men. And Alya and Devon having instalove made me want to vomit. It wasn't even good instalove, it was more like, "oh she is pretty and doesn't want to kill me so I am going to fall in love with her" on Devon's part. And who knows what she was thinking but a month in and they are full of love and happiness and it made zero sense to me.
Devon was pretty boring to me. Of course he was going to be their leader and have this super awesome ability that he thought was lame because how else do you make a good protagonist? I would have liked it so much better if he had an ability and was like, oh yeah I rock and this power rocks but I still have a heart underneath it all and can lead this group. That would have made him more interesting. As it stands, he was kind of whiny and then had this pep talk about how awesome he was because he could talk to plants and tried to save his friends, etc. I wasn't a fan.
I wish Miguel's story had been longer. I wanted to learn about how he learned to control his power enough that he could cross the border undetected because that would be a feat. Even if he did follow that girl's instructions, it still would have been extremely difficult for him to cross the border.
What I'm saying here seems to be repetitive: I wanted more. And I am being this repetitive because each story was similar in a sense -- something tragic happened to these people and they had to find a way out, but the author gave minimal explanation as to how that happened.
I'm not really sure where the story can go from here except to a revolution/government take down story line. I secretly want the next book to just be how these psion people are living on the outskirts and not being detected. How they have to pick up and move when the government gets too close, etc. I want the nitty gritty of this world because we got the nitty gritty details of five lives and how this world affected them. I want to see the rest of it. That would be cool to me.
Overall: 3/5. I did enjoy it, there was a lot of interesting characters and they had diverse back stories so there was never a dull moment. However, there wasn't much to go on and the only action happened in the last 10 pages of the novel and was really rushed.