Wayne's Reviews > Evil Genius

Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
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's review
Dec 08, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: teen, fiction
Read in December, 2008

Cadel Pigott is 7 years old when the police "suggest" to his parents that they take Cadel to a psychologist because he has been hacking into security networks. While his parents are out of the room Dr. Roth gives Cadel the strange advice, "Next time don't get caught." Cadel soon finds out that his real father is an international criminal in jail for trying to take over the world. He bonds with his father and Dr. Roth because they understand the depth of his intelligence and his adoptive parents are morons. After Cadel graduates from high school at the age of 14 he is enrolled in the Axis institute which is an advanced training school for evil geniuses with classes like "pure evil", "misinformation", "embezzlement", and "forgery". Cadel is surrounded by other kids, some as smart as him, most not, but all are evil or amoral in their own way. He eventually begins to doubt everything that his father and Dr. Roth have told him and wants to escape.

This is a good book with a good premise. Not a new idea, and not particularly well done, but still good and entertaining. Cadel has spent his entire life in an amoral atmosphere so he doesn't really understand that what he is doing is wrong. He sees everyone around him as less intelligent than him and therefore not worth the time and energy to worry about their feelings. It doesn't help that no one has ever shown genuine affection for him. He has been raised in a purposeful amoral environment. He eventually rejects this life because he finds someone to trust and care for. Someone that cares for him regardless of what he did to hurt her. An interesting philosophical discussion. It's too bad that Jinks doesn't expand on this more. She spends far more time discussing the technical details of hacking into security systems. There are over 20 different characters introduced as Cadel enters the Axis Institute and Jinks does not do a good enough job fleshing each one out. Many of the characters have aliases and nicknames which just makes it harder to keep track of them all. It gets very confusing for a while in the middle of the book.
Regardless of these flaws and critiques, I enjoyed the book and plan to read the sequel.

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Reading Progress

12/08/2008 page 34
12/10/2008 page 216
39.13% "Wow, a lot of techno babble!"

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