Monday, June 30, 2008

Evil Genius

by Catherine Jinks

Cadel Piggott is a genius. Unfortunately that genius only gets him in to trouble. At the age of 7 he hacked into the Pentagon's computer system. By the age of 14 he has graduated from high school and needs some place new. His therapist, Dr. Thaddeus Roth, suggests the Axis Institute, a university that works with special cases and focuses on smaller classes, etc. Turn out, this university isn't all that it seems. It's more like the University of World Domination and classes include: Accounting (embezzling), Applied Physics (explosives), Law (Loopholes), etc. But when Cadel discovers that all is not what it appears, and when the choice comes down to whether or not he can have a friend, will he choose to follow the path of evil or good?

I am a bit undecided how I feel about this book. The premise is clever and on the whole I really enjoyed the story. The idea behind the Axis Institute is fascinating. I don't completely understand how the activities of people at the Institute went unnoticed by the outside public, but I can suspend reality for a fun storyline.

I also thought Kay Lee's character was interesting. I hope she makes a bigger appearance in the sequel.

Yet, there were times that I felt like the characters acted, well, out of character. Especially Cadel. We go through the story and he seems to have very little conscience. He doesn't want to kill anyone, but he likes messing with people. Especially people that mess with him. Yet, by the end he has had a complete change of heart (that can be explained by Kay Lee) that just doesn't quite fit. I like the nice Cadel better, but he seemed to change so much that it was weird thinking he was even the same character.

I also really didn't appreciate the language. Nothing too strong, but a decent amount of swearing. I'm not sure why swearing is ever necessary in a book, but I think that it is always inappropriate in a book aimed towards kids.

Anyway. On the whole, I really did enjoy the story and it was a quick read. I think it could have been better if certain things had been explained better (mostly Cadel), but it was fun to suspend reality and watch the attempted creation of an Evil Genius.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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