Taemon’s brother, Yens, calls him “freakling”, a not-so-affectionate term that expresses Yens’s jealousy and cruelty. So the story begins as a Cain and Abel tale in which the older brother and the younger compete for their parents’ affection and for the attention of others.
Then, the story morphs into a dystopian novel about a society in which everyone uses “psi”, the psychic ability to manipulate objects, to do the most mundane of daily tasks. In Taemon’s city of Deliverance psi is necessary for everything, to feed oneself, to open doors, to work and to play psiball. Because Taemon is afraid of misusing his psi, he loses his psychokinetic abilities completely. Then, he must cover up his inability to use psi because the “powerless” in this society are scorned and sent into exile.
The premise of this middle grade novel is well-conceived and well-executed. The characters are not as developed as I might have liked, but Taemon and the people he meets along the way are likable enough. I especially liked Taemon’s friend Moke. Taemon himself is very much a “Special Chosen Child” who of course doesn’t realize his own specialness, but even though that’s an overused trope, the setting and world were intriguing enough to bring me along to accept the coming of age by realizing that you are the Chosen One theme. The ending was somewhat obvious to me, but it might not be as predictable for younger readers.
Overall, it’s a good debut novel that will appeal to boys and girls who enjoy dystopia, hero tales, and stories about psychic abilities.
If you want to check it out for yourself, you can read the first three chapters of Freakling on you Kindle for free.