Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25

Michael Vey

Author: Richard Paul Evans

Publication: 2011, Simon Pulse

Pages: 336

Overall Rating: bth_4-star-rating_zps38e772a0[1]                       

Rating for Action: bth_3-star-rating_zps73bdba73[1]

Quantity of Action: bth_3-star-rating_zps73bdba73[1]

Age Category: 13+

Brief Summary: Michael Vey has a secret.  He’s an electric boy.  Electricity pulses through his veins like blood and he can shock people at will.  He and his mother have hidden his secret for years, but it’s about to come out.  Together with his best friend and genius, Austin, and another friend who also turns out to be electric, Michael will have to hide from and fight the giant corporation that created him – because they want him back, and they’ll do anything to get him.

Age of Main Character: 15

What I Liked the Most: The concept behind Evans’ book is really cool because, unlike most superhero stories, it feels like the sort of thing that could potentially happen.  I won’t give away any of the details, but Michael’s power comes from a scientific test gone wrong – a test based on a kind of technology that feels all too realistic and possible.  While the story might be fanciful, it’s still enough to make you wonder if there could someday be electric children walking around the world.

The other standout aspect of Evans’ book was the easy interaction between Michael and Austin.  It felt like such a natural friendship that it made all the other relationships in the story seem that much more real.  Austin is an awesome character – funny, loyal, and a little too smart for his own good.  Go science geeks!

What I Liked the Least: The corporation that’s behind Michael and the electric children has bucket loads of money and doesn’t mind showering it on them.  During the middle portion of the book they use their money to try and bribe one of electric children and buy their loyalty.  It really don’t want to give any more details away, so I’ll just say that the amount of money bandied about, and the ease with which some of the characters spent tens of thousands of dollars started to feel mildly disgusting.

How Good was the Action? For the most part, the book is actually fairly light on the action until maybe the last 40 or 50 pages, at which point it becomes pretty much non-stop.  But even when the action was at its height it had a ho-hum quality to it.  I never got pulled into Michael’s fight on an emotional level and much of the action felt more like a chess match than a fight – as if Evans were saying, “Okay, we got four guards in this section, so let’s use trick A to take them out.  Then in the next section there are six guards, and for them we’ll use trick B.”  It was interesting, trying to figure out how Michael and his friends would get themselves out of each dangerous situation, but it never sucked me in

How Engaging was the Story? Unlike the final action sequence, the story as a whole did suck me in.  I loved Michael’s character and felt invested in his quest on a fairly deep emotional level.  As the screws turned and Michael’s options seemed to disappear one-by-one I found it increasingly hard to put the book down.  Michael’s emotions are scraped raw under the weight of an impossible moral dilemma and everything and everyone he loves is slowly stripped away in a fashion that is frightening and impossible to ignore.

Overall Assessment: Evans has come up with a cool, original take on the superhero story and peopled it with a cast of colorful characters.  While the action left something to be desired, I found it to be a fun and exciting read.  I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the next book in this series.

Profanity: None.

Sex: None, except for a brief kiss at the end.

Violence: There’s very little blood in this book, but don’t take that to mean there’s no violence.  There are actually several fairly intense torture scenes involving extremely painful emotional choices and what I can only describe as violent psychic attacks.  The scenes aren’t bloody but they can be emotionally disturbing.

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