Friday, August 5, 2011

Early Review of Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25
"Mr. Vey, you cannot be stuffed into a locker without your consent." Dallstrom said, which may be the dumbest thing ever said in a school. "You should have resisted. That's like blaming someone who was struck by lightning for getting in the way.

On the surface Michael Vey seems like your typical fourteen year old high school student, but he's got a shocking secret. He can electrocute a person by touching them. He can control how much voltage he sends, but it's not something he or his mom wish to become public knowledge, so he endures the bullying he gets at school.

"It's not like I was looking for trouble. I didn't have to. At my height it just always finds me."

Michael's secret has been revealed more than once. Meridian High School is the fourth school in five years Michael's been enrolled in. Luckily, no one has figured out Michael's curse or gift, if you will. When Michael gets emotional, however, his power is harder to keep under wraps. When the class bullies start in on him in front of Taylor, a girl he likes, he accidentally lets his power loose. That is where the real story begins. It turns out Michael isn't the only one with a secret. Taylor also has a secret. Between the two and Michael's best friend Ostin they discover that Taylor and Michael were born at the same hospital. They also find that around the time of their births a machine at the hospital was using new technology and malfunctioned. During the eleven day period that the machine was running only 17 out of 59 babies born survived.

When Taylor, shortly after searching for her birth records at Pasadena General Hospital, is offered a scholarships to attend the Elgen Academy located in Pasadena the group becomes suspicious. When Taylor and Michael's mom are kidnapped, Ostin theorizes the makers of the malfunctioning imaging device may be attempting to cover up their mistake. What they will discover, however, is even more sinister than what they imagined and may end up costing their lives.

My first thought as I read this was that it reminded me a little of the TV show Heroes, but other than having special powers there really aren't any other similarities. Yes, there is a cheerleader, but there are no whispers of "Save the cheerleader, save the world." This book started off a little slow but once it got going it was hard to put down. I liked how opinions of individuals changed, how friendships were formed, and how Ostin, Michael, and the others dealt with the difficult situations that they faced. Ostin, by the way, is a boy genius whose knowledge of science really helps tilt the scales in their favor. While Ostin may not have any "super" powers himself, the phrase 'knowledge is power" came to mind. If you're wondering where the book gets a portion of it's name, Cell 25 is where they lock up "glows", the term used to describe the 17 children who have electrical related powers, until their will is broken. I look forward to seeing if Michael's tourette's syndrome will turn out to be the key to why his "powers" are different from the other "glows".  This was definitely set up to be the first book in the series. I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. I think this is a great book for the tween and younger teen set.

Side note: I asked my son (11) and daughter (14) if they'd be interested in this book. When I described it, my son immediately thought of the cartoon series Static Shock. I assured him this is NOTHING like that. Surprisingly, my daughter thought this one would be something she'd be interested in reading. I will probably need to buy her the book. I got this one on digital loan from Simon & Schuster.

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