Street Freaks by Terry Brooks

In a futuristic, polluted – Escape from New York/ Terminator- style Los Angeles, Ash receives a frantic message from his bioengineer father telling him to run. Two minutes later their penthouse apartment is filled with robots on the hunt. Ash flees with his escape bag to the Red Zone, a non-patrolled sector given over to gangs of souped-up car enthusiasts. As instructed by his father, he finds refuge in the Street Freaks garage.

Ash finds in the Street Freaks a group of techno-teens (genetically enhanced or in some way altered) who have been saved from destruction. His father has reportedly committed suicide, and he leans heavily on his new friends. They accept him and his situation. And he finds that their gang is more that just a shop for customizing cars; they have the tools and the skills to help him find the truth.

My first impression of Street Freaks was that it was like something off of the CW Network… like The 100 or something like that. And I wasn’t too far off. That isn’t to say this is not an entertaining book, but it just relies so heavily of the teen-show plot devices: a group of beautiful misfits to help the cause, a grand conspiracy orchestrated by the government to keep the populace at bay, some sort of deadly race/fight to occupy the middle of the book, flat adult characters who are trying to ruin the kids’ plans…

Yet, Brooks’s Street Freaks has some very good surprises and a certain edge to some of the twists, and there’s definitely room for a sequel. Its best parts are the coming-of-age moments for its characters. The times when growth is forced, when change is a necessity.

3 out of 5 stars

Releases on October 2nd.

Thank you to NetGalley, Grim Oak Press, and Terry Brooks for the advanced copy for review.

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