Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let's Hear if for the Boys - Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

Published: August 2011
Publisher: Mercury Ink
Pages: 326
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

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'm not a huge fan of Richard Paul Evans adult books, but I thought that 'Michael Vey' sounded intriguing and decided to give it a try.  It started a little slowly for me, but as the story progressed there was a level of tension building that kept my interest alive. Michael was thoroughly believable and seemed to be the kind of child that every parent would wish for, thoughtful and caring.  His best friend Ostin is the perfect foil - the smart, slightly overweight kid with no other friends, but there is a depth to Ostin that made him easy to accept.

This is basically the age old story of Good vs Evil, with a healthy dose of prejudice and acceptance thrown in. It was nice to see stereotypical characters investigated a little so that the reasons for their behaviour were revealed.  The bad guy - Hatch - was everything that could be wished for.  He was completely false and cold-hearted and willing to do anything to get what he wanted.  A great bad guy.

" Hatch never forgives and he never forgets," Zeus said.  "He's like an elephant with anger management issues." (325)

The story was very clean, with no language or unnecessary violence (smoke grenades and tazers instead of real guns), but managed to maintain a degree of excitement that kept me wanting to read to the end and generally seems to be aimed at younger teens.

On the whole, I enjoyed it far more than I had expected to and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.  It would even work for a book report for middle-grades. On the good news side it looks as if #2 'Michael Vey: Rise of the Elgen' is due out in August 2012.  I'm looking forward to it.

I have to add here that I would not be the slightest bit surprised to hear that this had been optioned for a movie - I can just picture it as a 'Spy Kids/Alex Rider' type,  and I'm sure it would be a hit.

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