Anomaly by KA Emmons
I recently picked up a copy of Anomaly by indie author KA Emmons. It is the prequel to her YA urban fantasy series The Blood Race trilogy. Kate Emmons is currently giving away the prequel for free here.
You may recognize her last name from another book I recently reviewed called 100 Days of Sunlight. That one is written by her sister, Abbie. I came across both authors on YouTube when I was looking for writing tips to help my own writer’s journey. Both are extremely talented storytellers—I feel confident in saying I will read anything they publish.
Quick callout: if you’re like me and you’re always looking for creative inspiration, check out their new podcast, The Kate and Abbie Show. I recently started listening and have gotten a lot of value from it!
All right. Now let’s dig into Anomaly.
Anomaly by KA Emmons summary
The prequel follows 14-year-old misfit Ion Jacobs as he struggles with life at his latest foster home with the Reeves family. Ion, whose past remains a mystery ever since his parents’ tragic deaths when he was little, has been shipped off from foster home to foster home his entire life.
In the Reeves household, Ion gets along with Ava, the mother, and her daughter, Rachel, but each day is a vicious, fragile dance to avoid Mr. Reeves and the son, Michael, who happens to be Ion’s age. Consequently, it is this cruelty at home and at school—manifesting as bullying and abuse—that creates enormous stress for young Ion, stress that unleashes itself as unbridled power. Spoilers ahead.
The story opens with some faceless entity asking Ion a series of questions. Certainly, in reading the scene, it felt like I was stuck with Ion in one of those sterile interview rooms as they examined him like a lab rat. He is frustrated with not being able to recall certain bits of information, and then the story takes us back in time to his most recent experiences at the Reeves house.
Due to conflicts with Mr. Reeves and Michael, we learn Ion has the ability to do all sorts of things. For example, he can heal severe wounds—for himself and others. He can also move things with his mind and exhibits superhuman strength.
Following a fight with Michael, Ion meets a mysterious old man. The man acts as a sage by helping Ion control his power. Seems like the old man plays a major role in The Blood Race trilogy.
In the final scene, Ion talks to a social worker about the contents of the journal he’s been keeping.
Book review: Anomaly
Overall, I enjoyed Kate Emmons’s Anomaly. The book is well-written and the storytelling is right in line with that of traditionally published work. Too often, indie books are overlooked. The thinking is perhaps they’re more prone to print errors or poorer quality writing, but this simply isn’t true with Anomaly. Pacing, dialogue, conflicts, characters—she did a great job crafting the story. And I’m all for supporting indie work.
I also appreciated that Emmons made the prequel available for free. This is a great way for readers to dip their toe into a series before making a purchase commitment. I plan to read the rest of the series based on my enjoyment of the prequel.
Ultimately, I rated Anomaly by KA Emmons four stars on Goodreads. Though I enjoyed her writing style, the book was missing the “x-factor” for me. Dead parents, a misfit boy who discovers he has powers, terrible foster home experiences—these are all tropes I’ve seen numerous times. But tropes are popular for a reason because people do enjoy them.
As such, they weren’t dealbreakers for me. I’m willing to sit down and read through the rest of The Blood Race trilogy to see how things pan out for Ion Jacobs. Keep you posted!
If you’re looking for another YA fantasy series, you might also consider Amanda Hocking’s books. There’s the Trylle trilogy, the Kanin Chronicles, and now the Omte Origins. Book one in the latter series is called The Lost City and its release date is July 7, 2020). Each of these series takes place in the world of the Trylle, and I think you’ll enjoy all the action and fast pacing!