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Review: Deficient – Michael Solis

Deficient - Michael Solis

Genre: Sci-Fi, YA

LGBTQ+ Category: Ace, Gay, Lesbian, Non-Binary

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

The near future is progressively free from discrimination based on race, class, and sexual orientation. But in a world populated by the gifted, fifteen-year-old Alejandro Aragon (Alé) is part of the only remaining minority—he’s a Deficient. Powerless. The one that accelerated genetics left behind.

Alé knows that he’ll need a miracle to graduate and pursue his dream of a legal career in the capital. His only ally is his best friend Yalamba, an outspoken and exceptionally gifted artist renowned for her unique ability to draw things into existence. But when she’s kidnapped in a hate crime against her ability, it appears that Alé has every motive and no believable alibi.

To prove his innocence and track down the real culprit, Alé teams up with the other outcasts in school, who each have their own reasons for getting involved. But the deeper they dig, the more they fear Yalamba’s kidnapping is linked to a string of unsolved murders against the exceptionally gifted.

With time running out, Alé must discover who he really is if he and his new friends plan to track down the culprit, clear his name, and rescue Yalamba—all before she herself is drawn out of existence.

The Review

Alejandro “Ale” Aragon is fifteen and attends the Achewon Egalitarian Academy.  His mother, Paquita, teaches accelerated students, and his father Los and his brothers are very hateful towards him.

By the age of eight, children have usually gained their special abilities, but Ale never did.  He was tested for accelerated ability because of his mother and that allowed him to attend Achewon. But he’s considered useless because he has no abilities and is called a Deficient. His best friend, Yalamba Koroma, was identified as a Feral, but she finally tamed her ability to draw objects and bring them into existence.  

The Achewon Academy has a strict hierarchy. Those with common abilities are Atlases, Racers, Sky Gliders, Know-it-Alls, Mind Movers, and Unseens. Those with rare abilities include Legions and Ferals. And those that are anomalies are called Deficients.

The 4th year Atlases are bullies – especially Landon Waters and his followers, who constantly bully Ale. Yalamba isn’t afraid to come to his defense. She’s always supportive of him, and encourages him to defend himself. She’s also encouraging him to apply for his career plan for postgraduate assignment, but he just doesn’t have the confidence.

When Yalamba goes missing, Ale tries to find her. He’s also suspected of murder, and tragic situations ensue. He will do anything he can to find his best friend and figure out what’s happening with other students. Do you have to have superpowers to be a hero? Will Alejandro find allies? And what will he discover about himself? 

Deficient spins a fascinating dystopian tale with a touch of darkness, set against the backdrop of Achewon’s hierarchical system, and delves into how this hierarchy affects the students there. At its heart, it’s about what young people have to go through just trying to fit in: coming out, homophobia, abuse, being misunderstood, bulling, and dealing with adults in the struggle to just be themselves.

Besides Alejandro, the author has created a beautiful cast of characters that make this novel shine: Yalamba Koroma, Gwen Manghi, Kazuki Tanaka, Mixie Trait and Kaylee Kerrain.

Deficient is a superb debut novel filled with humor, suspense, action, mystery, and many surprises. The ideas in the book have a lot of potential as a series, and the story will appeal to many beyond its core young adult audience. Well done, and worth the read!

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California. Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018. My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen. New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012. She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series. Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book!

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing. I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews. One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group. Joining her site was such an eye opener. I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams.

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