This simplistic dystopia delivers formulaic romance and a large dose of religious faith.
In the second installment of the Anomaly Trilogy, naïve musician Thalli and her friends, newly escaped from the evil Scientists and the underground State (Anomaly, 2003), arrive at New Hope, a small agricultural community that survived the Nuclear War 40 years ago. But alas, New Hope finds itself constantly threatened by Athens, a whole city that survived the War largely by developing never-described, constantly mentioned “pharmaceuticals.” Thalli goes to Athens to convince evil King Jason not to attack and meets his son, Alex, who seems like a nice guy. Sadly, Alex turns on a dime into a threatening character. Thalli feels certain that she can escape if she relies on the Designer (apparently the future name for God). McGee appears to have two goals here: to write an entertaining dystopian novel and to promote religious faith. She mostly meets her first goal, although frequent sudden storyline reversals, such as Alex’s transformation, can cause whiplash. She relies, clearly intentionally, on frequent deus ex machina plot turns to promote the second goal. The roughly third-grade-level prose, dialogue that mostly avoids contractions, avoidance of necessary description and cardboard-cutout characterizations seem to pitch the book toward an expected audience of poor readers.
The faithful may enjoy it. (Dystopian romance. 10-14)