Freakling is a middle-grade novel written by Lana Krumwiede. It features a young boy protagonist, Taemon, and his journey of power.

Note: This review contains spoilers

What struck me as different about this middle-grade novel is how well Krumwiede presents the alternate world. At no point did I feel that she relied on an info dump in order to convey how it is different. Within the first chapter, there’s a clear history to where the world exists now and where the protagonist Taemon fits within that history. The language of the world, what it looks like, and how the characters live came very organically.

The most important theme throughout deals with power. There’s power in terms of magical abilities in the form of Psi, or psychic power like telekinesis. There’s also a power struggle over who is stronger, who rules the people, and what magical power is needed to have both.

In terms of the magic, Krumweide took a different approach, which seems refreshing. She also took her time in establishing how important that power is and then contrasted it with life without power. In the long run, instead of making me wish I had his power like I did when reading Harry Potter, I ended up liking the importance given to life without powers. Krumwiede has a detailed explanation of how psi works on her website, proving how much details she put in to creating and establishing this power.

The power struggle that underlies the entire novel felt necessary but also at times a little predictable. The same could be said of Taemon’s older brother Yens. I predicted what would happen possibly because it all needed to happen. But even with my predictions, the book hooked and pushed me into finishing it to see if I was right. What I figured would take me a week to finish took me a day as I kept reading.

Krumwiede’s characters are fun to spend some time with. My understanding is that a second book may be on its way for next year, which is good since I felt that while it could stand alone as a single novel, I’d like to see where Taemon could go. I would recommend Freakling for readers age 10 and up.

Freakling by Lana Krumweide