S.T.O.R.M. – The Infinity Code

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Author: E.L. Young

Publication: Dial Books, 2008

Pages: 368

Overall Rating: bth_35_zps7a173504[1]                       

Rating for Action: bth_25_zps13f4f4eb[1]

Quantity of Action: bth_2-star-rating-1_zps4cdc0d23[1]  

Age Category: 13+

Brief Summary:  Will Knight is a genius and inventor.  With help from his mom he’s created a range of cool gadgets, including a two-way communication device that fits over one of your teeth and a remote controlled flying video camera that looks like a locust and can actually power itself by eating leaves.  Gaia, a chemist, and Andrew, a young multi-millionaire software developer, ask him to join STORM – a group of young geniuses working to tackle the world’s problems.  At first Will isn’t interested.  Then a massive eruption of solar flares takes out phone and satellite communications.  Will, Andrew, and Gaia use some on-the-spot innovation to help an airplane restore its GPS and land safely.  The incident electrifies Will and causes him to rethink STORM.  Soon after, he comes across a news story about the abduction of a famous physicist whose son, Caspian, was another prospective member of STORM.  The chance discovery leads to the terrifying realization that Caspian and his father, under pressure from the kidnappers, have created a devastating new weapon and plan to use it to destroy an orbiting space hotel.  Will and his friends tail Caspian to Russia and from there the chase is on.

Age of Main Character: 15

What I Liked the Most: The technology and gadgets were all very cool.  The author does a great job describing them, making the technology sound realistic, and integrating it into their adventure.  For the most part, I found the things Will and his friends were able to do believable no matter how crazy they may have been – with the exception of one scene where they get past a biometric scanner by unscrewing the faceplate and having a rat chew randomly chew through some of the wires.  But that was an egregious example.  Most of the technology and science they used felt very real.

Young also supplies a great note at the end of the book where she tells you that all the high tech devices are based on actual research and inventions.  She then goes through the devices one-by-one and tells you where they come from.  For example, the locust camera was based on an insect-cam invented at the University of California, Berkeley.

What I Liked the Least: Young switches point of view a lot.  As I explain in more detail below, most of the story takes place from Will’s perspective, but she often makes brief flips, putting us in another character’s head for a paragraph or two at a time before sending us back to Will.  It’s a jarring approach that causes plenty of confusion.

How Good was the Action?  There really wasn’t a lot of action.  This book is mostly about science and technology and about Will confronting his past.  The action doesn’t heat up until the last 50 or so pages.  At that point it’s not bad, but it gets confusing because Young keeps switching points of view, often at a rapid fire pace.  Most of the book takes place from Will’s perspective, but Young regularly switches point of view for a single paragraph, getting us briefly into the head of a different character before sending us back to Will.  For the most part this was only slightly jarring, but once the action got going, there were places where she was switching perspectives two to three times within a single page and it got extremely confusing.  I found myself having to reread passages to figure out what was going on, which slowed down the action and made it hard to follow.

How Engaging was the Story?   Between the technology and Will’s complicated background this should have been an engaging story, but for some reason the book took me a long time to read.  I read it in a lot of short, 15 or 20 page bursts, and never felt a strong desire to get back to the book.  I can’t really explain why that was the case.  As I said, Will was well developed as a character and had a good interaction with Gaia, it’s an interesting story, and there’s plenty of cool science and technology, but for some reason I remained relatively unengaged and took a long time to finish.

Overall Assessment: This is a good book if you’re interested in high tech gadgetry, cool inventions, and science.  That’s what really drives the story, and if that’s what you’re looking for you’ll have a lot of fun.  But the book doesn’t provide much in the way of action, and for reasons I can’t entirely explain I found it hard to get into.  I won’t be checking out the next book in the series.

Profanity: None

Sex: None

Violence: Very minimal.  A couple of people die in the end, but it’s not in the least bit bloody and there’s no fighting to speak of.

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