Sunday, November 15, 2009

Book Review: Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks

Davan and I started listening to Evil Genius in the car. I enjoyed it from the beginning, but Davan felt so-so about it until about the middle of the 13 disks, when, all of a sudden, she was begging to listen to it in the house, as well, so she could "find out what happens!"

Evil Genius is the story of Cadel, whom we follow from seven up to just fourteen years old. He is, indeed, a genius, and he is being lead toward evil, but is it what he really wants for himself? This is what Cadel must decide and what happens when he does.

I enjoyed the book quite a bit. Davan, after slowly warming up to it, got really into it. Even Anthony, who caught parts of it here and there was asking for updates on stuff he missed. There is a sequel, which I've put on hold at the library. Poor Anthony will probably miss most of the sequel, as well, but maybe I'll get it for him to read in book form.

I found Cadel to be a reasonable character and didn't find it too difficult to empathize with him. Some of the other characters were a little one dimensional, but certainly not all of them. Some of his fellow students at the Axis Academy, where he is attending "university" are the sorts of characters where you wonder what the author was thinking with naming. Gazo, which is not a nickname, is the name of a character with scent issues, for example.

As we listened to the book, the narrator was also an important part of our listening enjoyment. Justine Eyre did a fine job of reading and navigating the various accents (at least to my ear). She was engaging and not over the top, as I sometimes find readers to be.

I enjoyed Evil Genius and give it an 8. Check it out together with your preteen/teen and see if you agree with Cadel's choices and actions. It can lead to some interesting discussions.

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