26 November 2012

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

My name is Michael Vey, and the story I’m about to tell you is strange.
Very strange. It’s my story.
To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey is an ordinary fourteen-year-old. In fact, the only thing that seems to set him apart is the fact that he has Tourette’s syndrome. But Michael is anything but ordinary. Michael has special powers. Electric powers.

Michael thinks he's unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor also has special powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up this way, but their investigation brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric children – and through them the world. Michael will have to rely on his wits, powers, and friends if he’s to survive.
 I hate saying "this is a boy book", but that's all I heard about this before I read it.  I can see why people are labeling it like that, though.  It's got a male lead character who has super powers, a strong plot line with arch-villains that don't really have much motivation for their dastardly deeds, and tons of action to keep the reader from poking holes in everything.  In fact, this book very much read like the narrative companion novel to an action movie.  That's not a bad thing, even though it may not appeal to all people.  It's just different from your character-driven romance novels. 

In fact, if I had to say something was lacking in this book it's character(s).  The characters are clear, but they're not really very differentiated from each other.  In fact, the author seems to characterize people by their super powers, which works okay for the kids but not really at all for the villains or the non-supers.  The differentiation is also very cliche' for the super kids, for example the one that can take away pain is super empathetic while the one that can take away power is a power-hungry torturer.  The cliche' doesn't end there, though.  The plot starts out very predictably: there's a boy hiding his super power, he discovers he's not the only one and suddenly a group out to get him kidnaps his girlfriend and his mother to hold as ransom until he uses his powers to do evil things for them.  The whole book reads pretty much as you'd expect with a plot like that.  However, just because it's predictable doesn't mean it's not also enjoyable.  The lack of character development is made up for in pure action.  There's a good dose of science thrown in, and I give special kudos to the author for trying hard to come up with a plausible reason for the superpowers and ways to differentiate powers while still grouping them along a theme.  In all, I label this book enjoyable but predictable, and which way the scales tip depends on the reader (and, possibly, their mood at the time of reading).

1 comment:

  1. Sounds interesting. I think character development is important even in YA. I'm always trying to add character development in my upcoming epic fantasy novel Everville The First Pillar with a very developed lead Owen Sage. It can be challenging to do, but it can also be fun.