Author: Richard Evans
Publisher: Simon Pulse/Mercury Ink
Series: Michael Vey #1
Released: August 9, 2011
First Line: "Have you found the last two?" The voice on the phone was angry and coarse, like the sound of car tires over broken glass.
From Goodreads: "My name is Michael Vey, and the story I’m about to tell you is strange. Very strange. It’s my story.To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey is an ordinary fourteen-year-old. In fact, the only thing that seems to set him apart is the fact that he has Tourette’s syndrome. But Michael is anything but ordinary. Michael has special powers. Electric powers.
Michael thinks he's unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor also has special powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up this way, but their investigation brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric children – and through them the world. Michael will have to rely on his wits, powers, and friends if he’s to survive."
My Thoughts:The Prisoner of Cell 25. The title alone was what initially grabbed my attention. Who was the prisoner? Why was he/she being held prisoner? What was cell 25? Hmmm... And what was with the electric-hand thing going on on the cover? The premise sounded interesting enough, so I decided to give it a shot.
I didn't really know what to expect going into it, though I had thought it was a book for teens. It turned out to be for Middle Grades, and I could see that age group enjoying this book much more than I did. What I don't understand, though, is that if the author intended his audience to be Middle Grades, why did he make the characters 15 year olds? These characters did not act or sound like High School students to me--they acted and sounded like Middle Schoolers. So why not just make them the same age as your target readers? *shrugs* Because that just makes too much sense.
First off, the idea of special powers isn't anything new. It's been done a million times before. But Richard Evans brings a new angle to the table by having the characters all have electrical powers, and each character's power works differently. For example, one can 'reboot' people like a computer, another can throw lightning bolts, and another can see through walls using a sonar type deal. (I can't remember the exact name of it.)
Michael was a good main character who wasn't perfect. I liked that he had Tourett's syndrome, which made him blink a lot when he was nervous. This made him more sympathetic/relatable. His best friend Ostin (as in Austin, Texas but unfortunately his mom couldn't spell) is extremely smart and funny, and is teased for being overweight. Both of these characters struggle with bullies in the beginning of the story, and I can see Middle Schoolers really being able to relate to them.
However, Taylor's character seemed sort of shallow and cliche--the beautiful, popular cheerleader who Michael of course has a crush on but is out of his league. Later we meet Nichelle and Zeus who also have electric powers but are sort of 'bad guys', and when I say 'bad guys' I mean the really cheesy/cliche sort of bad guys. Their dialogue--especially Nichelle's--was really over the top with the cheesy insults and threats.
For the most part The Prisoner of Cell 25 is well-written, but the biggest problems I had was that sometimes the plot could be cliche and unbelievable, and the dialogue was cheesy and often awkward. It is told mainly in first-person and Michael's voice is very well-defined. However, sometimes the story switches perspectives to Taylor and is then told in third person. I found this weird and it threw me off.
By the time I got to the end of the book and found out about the prisoner in cell 25, I was very disappointed. I won't say why because I don't want to give anything away. But I don't see why the author used that as the title, I felt cheated. The only reason I can think of is that it's the sort of title that hooks readers. Even though it's deceiving >.<
To Read Or Not To Read?Overall, The Prisoner of Cell 25 was a light, fun read but not really anything special. I would definitely recommend this book for Middle Schoolers, though. I think that age group would enjoy this one much more, especially the guys. As a future Middle School English teacher this is a book that I would add to my classroom library.
My Rating:Writing: 3/5
Kept me interested: 4/5