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Julie Doe

Aberrant (Aberrant #1) - Ruth  Silver I thought the concept of this had promise, but the execution was horrible. This book is self-published, and it shows in many ways. ***MILD SPOILERS FOLLOW***

First, there are grammar problems throughout the book. One of the predominant ones was abuse of dialogue tags. Smiled, stood, nodded, and other non-verbal actions ARE NOT dialogue tags and should not be punctuated as such. The author also (grammatically) abuses dialogue tags by using almost anything other than "said" as a tag. This is a beginning writer mistake, and one of my pet peeves.

The world-building was extremely poor. First, the whole concept of infertility is badly explained. The author says in one place that woman "can't conceive, at least not naturally" but never explains how they ARE able to conceive or what assistance they are given. There is a vague reference to a lottery called "The Day of the Chosen", where all women are given the chance to have a child but the children were "born in labs". But does the author mean "born" in labs or "conceived" in labs? Because the next sentence in the book says that "the government had to intervene for women to become pregnant." Huh? If women become pregnant, then the children are presumably NOT born in labs. Then there is reference to Olivia's mother conceiving naturally, getting pregnant, and Olivia being "born". But if children are "born" in labs, then how did Olivia's mother conceal her pregnancy? And how did she give birth at home with no one knowing and no medical treatment? And how did she just suddenly appear with a baby? Even if she had help from one doctor who knew her secret and added her name as a lottery winner, wouldn't a bunch of other people know that no baby had been made for her in the lab where children are "born"? So maybe the author really did mean "conceived" in labs, then perhaps implanted in women. Overall it was confusing and contradictory.

Also, this future society apparently has the technology to construct a teleportation device, but cannot solve an infertility problem? I realize that physical and biological sciences are different, but still that begs credulity. The society also has unmanned drones, tanks, cars that run totally off solar power, and yet "cameras hadn't been used for centuries" and Olivia was stunned to see photographs. Olivia recollects a bit later that "in Genesis it was illegal to take pictures". If cameras hadn't been used in centuries, why would it be illegal to use them? And how in the world would an industrialized modern society function without photo or image documentation?

Those are just a couple of examples of the mish-mash of inconsistent and ill-thought-out world-building. There are many others. I would also like to echo what another reviewer pointed out: that the supposed secret city that Olivia and Joshua end up in has roads leading right to it (??!!), and Olivia and Joshua learn the ins and outs of a car very quickly despite never having seen one before.

Let's talk plot, which seemed a bit contrived at times. Olivia is forced to flee from her home of Genesis because the government finds out that she might be able to conceive naturally and toss her in jail. Lucky for her, her best friend and husband-to-be, Joshua, has family involved with the "rebel alliance" (yes, I kid you not; the author called the dissidents the "rebel alliance"--Star Wars, anyone?...). They are sent the long and risky way out of Genesis to hook up with someone who can take them to a town called Haven; meanwhile, Joshua's mother steps into her teleportation device and meets the kids in Haven. Huh? Why not just stick the kids in the device and get them there safe and sound? That's never answered. Somehow that government finds the kids are at Haven, attacks Haven, and forces the kids to flee towards a secret city that Joshua found on a map (that would be the secret city with roads leading right to it). The farce that the kids are put through in that city is a ridiculously contrived waste of time and man-power, and the story veered into the very-weird when the kids developed telepathic communication and telekinesis powers after some mystery medical procedure. At which point, I wondered again: if this society is that medically advanced, why haven't they cured the infertility problem?

*sigh* It's an mess from beginning to end. This author really needs good editors--both content and line-editing--to make this concept work.