Monday, June 02, 2008

Genius Squad

Genius_squadJinks, Catherine. 2008. Genius Squad.

Genius Squad is the sequel to Evil Genius. A book that *almost* everyone (excluding me) loved when it released last year. So if I didn't love (and if I'm honest, really almost hated) why would I pick up the sequel? Am I just into torturing myself? Maybe. But it's a good thing. A really good thing in this case. My problems with Evil Genius was in the narrator (and also the pacing but it's not necessary to go there). Our hero, Cadel Piggott, was so far removed from the human race, so cold, so calculating, so mean-spirited, so outside-it-all, so without conscience that it made it hard for me to like him. Even just a little bit. But Cadel's a whole new man now. Well, sort've. He's fifteen. He's matured in many ways. If by maturing you mean becoming human, becoming likable, becoming vulnerable, becoming a person who thinks about his choices being right or wrong. That doesn't mean he's above doing wrong, it just means that he thinks first. He may lie. He may keep secrets. He may want to do small acts of revenge. But he now thinks about whether the ends justify the means. But more importantly, Cadel is now beginning to think about other people besides himself--at least part of the time.

So, I liked this one. I really liked it. Cadel, as I mentioned, is fifteen now. And we first meet him living in a foster home. He's in a home with two other children. (I believe they're both foster care kids too.) And life isn't easy for this ex-genius. At the beginning, he's living a mostly restricted life. He does get some computer time, a few hours each day, but it's not his computer. It's not super-advanced. And he can't really go about doing his normal genius-y things. He's under police protection as well. He's the sole witness for the prosecution. He has to stay alive so he can testify against Prosper English. Surviving may be more difficult than he at first thought.

So, the book is called Genius Squad. As you might have guessed, Cadel (and his best friend Sonja) get an offer they can't refuse. A chance to prove their genius for the "good" guys. Off the record of course. No, he isn't working for the police. And no, there isn't proof that these so-called good-guys are actually good. In fact, these good guys are doing some illegal things. But Cadel thinks the ends will justify the means. I won't go into all the specifics, but this genius squad does add some suspense and mystery to the plot.

Genius Squad is an exciting page turner. I definitely recommend it.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Charlotte 9:55 AM  

Hi Becky,

I'm with you on Evil Genius--Cadel put me off so much I didn't enjoy the book one single bit. But maybe I'll follow your lead and try this one....

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