At age seven, child prodigy Cadel Piggott lands in a shrink's office for illegal computer hacking, where psychologist Thaddeus Roth delivers startling counsel: "Next time, don't get caught." Thaddeus is an agent of Cadel's real father, a brilliant crook who, from behind bars, manages to place Cadel at the secretive Axis Institute for World Domination. By 13, Cadel is earnestly studying "Infiltration, Misinformation, and Embezzlement," but as he increasingly relies on an outside friendship, he privately plots to extricate himself from the paterfamilias. (from Amazon)Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
I picked this up at Barnes and Noble on Saturday, mainly because it had such a high page count for a low-ish price. Also, shiny cover. I am easily swayed by shiny covers.
Happily enough, Evil Genius turned out to be rather a decent read. It starts off quite slow, when Cadel’s around age seven. Luckily it speeds through four or so years until he gets to high school, then again when he gets to the Axis Institute. It really picks up around page 300, which leads to a fantastic action-packed ending that meant I couldn’t put the book down. I had to know what happened next now. Thank god for that, though; I think if it had been any slower I would have been bored (I very nearly was in the first 100 pages, anyway. Not completely bored, though, just hanging on the edge of it).
I will mention that there’s a lot of death in EG. It was creepy– and there’s other creepy things besides the deaths, like the doctor who experiments on stray cats and the student who wants to become a vampire– but because Cadel is so self-involved and is emotionally stunted, I didn’t really get the full impact of what was going on around him. It’s not until later that Cadel learns how to feel for someone other than himself, but he’s so busy with his plans that he doesn’t think about what’s happening around him, and so I still didn’t get the whole experience. However, I think that was a good thing: if Cadel had dwelled on every death that happened at the Axis Institute the plot would have been bogged down with, truly, unnecessary details and melodrama. It was much better to stay focused on Cadel and his problems.
As for the rest of the plot, I loved the twists and the shocking reveals. Cadel got so paranoid that even I started suspecting seemingly innocent characters of not being actually innocent. Especially Gazo– was he really a lonely moron, or was he just pretending?
Seriously, I still suspect him of something. Something…devious. *insert suspenseful music here*
Anyway, there’s a sequel (Genius Squad), and after the rather cliffhanger-y ending I definitely want to read it. But maybe after a small break.
Read: November 2008