Lynne's Reviews > The Prisoner of Cell 25

The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans
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Sep 07, 12

bookshelves: fantasy-sci-fi, ya, ya-fantasy-sci-fi
Read in August, 2012

Richard Paul Evans is best known for "inspirational" books like The Christmas Box. Here, he branches into mainstream Young Adult science fiction. This book is the first of a trilogy, but who knows? He may end up deciding to ride the cash cow through as many books as he can get away with.

Michael and 17 other kids are survivors of an experiment that took place while they were babies in a hospital in California. These young people are the only survivors among some two hundred babies who died from the experiments performed on them. The goal was to create humans with superpowers, most of them having special abilities with electricity or brain waves. Of course Michael is the most gifted--his skills and power increase throughout the book. None of the other "Glows" do. I don't have a problem with characters' powers shifting or becoming stronger, but for only the main character to experience this puts Michael into Mary-Sue territory.

Evans's prose and dialogue are cringe-worthy at times (but not I-wanna-burn-this bad, just occasionally annoying), and I find that some chapters are written in first-person, from Michael's point of view, and some are written in third-person, awkward. Also, his 15 and 16-year-old characters talk and act like 11 and 12-year-olds. It is my experience that middle-schoolers like this book and high-school-aged young people find it juvenile. "We don't talk or act like that," is the general consensus.

However, I've read much worse YA and MG lately, and, despite the weaknesses in the prose and POV, would still recommend this for my students.
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