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THE NEW HUMANS

Interesting but could be tighter

By Fiona Gregory, editor

Sep 20, 2017: This is another story taking the popular theme of how our recent history might have unfolded if a minority of people started getting superpowers. Set in Australia in the 1960’s, the government is taking a heavy handed approach picking up and detaining children suspected of having powers to do tests on them. Public opinion is fearful and suspicious of the new "demi-humans".

However there is one alternative for the lucky few – one man named Lawrence has started a group home and school for which he is allowed to recruit some individuals. It’s not clear why the government tolerates this as he obviously can’t control them beyond their respect for him and one alumni appears to have become a villain. The story unfolds from the perspective of a young girl who is rescued from a miserable prison-like government facility and enters the home/school where she meets others with various interesting powers.

I love reading about her unique power – she senses the metabolism of living beings as individual musical songs, and from this she is able to incorporate notes into her own being and absorb knowledge, skills, and, temporarily, powers. This intriguing concept is a lot of what kept me reading.

The story is written in a tongue-in-cheek, wryly humourous way and sometimes gets a little too caught up in its cleverness, meandering in extended conversations. While the unfolding of the world and the interactions among the "new humans" is interesting. I don’t get any clear sense of plot yet. Eight generously long chapters in, nothing much of consequence has really happened since Allison’s arrival at the school, besides the introduction of a number of cool characters and powers and some history and backstories.She’s also rather more poised and well-adjusted than you might expect of a 8 year old who’s gone through what she has – but that may be a side effect of her powers. There is a lot of potential but I’m not sure where the author is going to go with it. That said, it is well written – clean and professional in terms of sentence structure vocabulary, etc., and generally fun to read, if a bit overly drawn out at times.

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