Friday, June 8, 2007

Evil Genius - Catherine Jinks

Cadel isn't like other kids. For one thing, he's got a genius IQ. For another he's already in serious trouble with the law. And not just for breaking windows, stealing bikes, or other normal delinquent acts. Nope, not Cadel. He's in trouble because he likes to spend his spare time hacking into high-security computer networks like bill-paying services and power grids. He's good, but not so good he doesn't get caught. Of course, he is only seven years old.

So he's a genius, sort of withdrawn and strange and frankly his adoptive parents don't quite know how to deal with him. They're more than happy to pawn him off on his therapist and let them hash it out in their sessions. Little do they know that his therapist is in constant contact with Cadel's biological father, Dr. Darkkon, an imprisoned evil genius. And little do they know that during Cadel's "therapy" sessions, all three are hashing out a plan to use Cadel's enormous IQ for evil [insert evil laugh].

Fast forward to when Cadel is 14. He's just graduated from high school, he's enrolled in the Axis Institute (actual name - Axis Institute for World Domination) and he is taking a full course load: computer science (infiltration), psychology (manipulation), media studies (misinformation), accounting (embezzlement), and my personal favorite pragmatic philosophy (pure evil). To tell you the truth, it is going great! Cadel is at the top of his class, he's passing with flying colors, and he's well on his way to learning how to live and love an evil lifestyle. Nevertheless, the good times are about to end. After Cadel creates his human pattern recognition software he begins to notice that things are really not what they seem. Alliances shift, stretch, and break altogether, people turn on each other, a normal thing given they're all evil, but alarming all the same! However, most disturbing to Cadel is that he's begun to notice that much of this attention is being turned toward him.

This book isn't quite what I thought it would be. For one thing I was expecting something that would appeal to reluctant readers. Instead I found that it was a densely written 486 page book. I also had it in my head that it would be more superheroish and it really wasn't in the least related to superheros (except I guess Dr. Darkkon's attempts to develop genetic mutants). Don't get me wrong, I loved it. Even though I had misconceptions of the story, it still rocked.. I could have kept reading Cadel's story until he reached adulthood and so I was pleasantly surprised when I reached the end and found the announcement that there is a sequel planned.

Cadel's character development was truly an excellent thing. I loved how even though he was a genius, he still was completely out of his element in most areas of his life. I loved the courses he took, the double crossing, his computer pen-pal, his slow realization that when his therapist told him early on that he shouldn't trust anyone it was true. He really shouldn't trust *anyone*. A point that Cadel neglects to fully grasp until it is almost too late.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I thought this book was MUCH more evil than the very similar H.I.V.E.: Higher Institure of Villainous Education by Mark Walden.