Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Middle-Grade Review: Freakling

Every summer, I download free audio books from SYNC, which offers two different freebies each week. One of last summer's downloads was Freakling by Lana Krumwiede, which is book 1 of The Psi Chronicles. Although I'm not always a fan of this type of fantasy novel that takes places in a made-up world, I did end up enjoying this intriguing and fast-paced story.

Twelve-year old Taemon lives in a world where people do everything using a kind of telekinesis called psi. His Mam cooks dinner by thinking of the onion chopped and the dough kneaded, and his Da drives a byrider or unisphere by thinking about how its parts work together and moving it with his mind. Taemon already seems to have strong psi and a talent for figuring out how things work, but his jealous and competitive brother, Yens, always wants to be better at things. When Taemon loses his psi after a traumatic incident and the town leaders find out, he is sent away to live in the Colony, a place outside the city walls where the powerless live. Taemon is surprised to find that it's not that bad - in fact, everyone there is kind and seems happy. It takes some adjustment to get used to having to use a fork to eat, brush his own teeth, and pick things up manually, but he can see there are some advantages to this kind of living, too. When Taemon mistakenly leaks a secret that could put his new friends in the Colony in danger, he must decide if he should risk everything to sneak back into the city he was exiled from.

Although I sometimes find these kinds of stories with made-up names, places, and magical powers overcrowded with unrecognizable words and concepts, I listened to Freakling on audio and quickly found myself wrapped up in the characters and the story. There is a lot of action and suspense but also plenty of warmth, especially in Taemon's character and some of the people around him, including some of his family and his new friends. Yens is basically just evil, which you pretty much know from the first sentence of the novel! I wasn't thrilled to find out this is the start of a series because I prefer stand-alones, but there was some resolution of some of the challenges at the end, while making it clear that the story would continue.  This interesting and well-written dystopian fantasy kept me rapt from beginning to end, and its 300+ pages went by quickly.

320 pages, Candlewick Press
Brilliance Audio

Disclosure: I received this free from SYNC. My review is my own opinion.

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You can listen to a sample of the audio book at this link.

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  1. It seems that all YA fantasy, sci fi, and dystopian novels come in sets of three! I agree that an occasional stand alone would be nice.

    1. Yes! True! There are just SO many great books I want to read that I don't like getting sucked into too many series :)