The Prisoner of Cell 25: Michael Vey, Book 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
The Prisoner of Cell 25: Michael Vey, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Suspenseful tale of superpowered teens has a spark of wit.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The Prisoner of Cell 25 explores the responsibilities that come with gaining great powers.

Positive Messages

It's hurtful and dangerous to believe that you're better than everyone else. If you have power, you can't use it to control or harm others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Michael is a loving son to his widowed mother and tries to follow her rules about never using his electric power. He's also a loyal friend to his socially inept buddy, Ostin. Most of all, he can't bring himself to deliberately hurt a defenseless victim.


Scenes of violence, but most are understated and don't include bloodshed. Michael uses his electric powers to shock his enemies. A character uses psychic powers to cause physical pain. Michael is subjected to solitary confinement in a darkened room, and other captives are forced to wear shock collars. A motorcyclist is injured when someone intentionally distracts him during a race.


Michael has a crush on Taylor, which she seems to reciprocate. Ostin also awkwardly attempts to flirt with her. Nothing physical occurs among any of them.


Taylor and her sister go shopping in Beverly Hills and buy high-priced items with recognizable brand names: Ferragamo, Dolce & Gabbana, etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teen characters are encouraged to drink celebratory champagne in one scene. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Prisoner of Cell 35: Michael Vey, Book 1 is a fairly standard superhero origin story but one that's well paced and involving. Author Richard Paul Evans created likable characters and put them in suspenseful situations. There are violent scenes but little bloodshed. Characters are kidnapped, fitted with shock collars, put in solitary confinement, and hurt with psychic powers. Sexual content is limited to flirting. Teens drink celebratory champagne in one scene. The sixth book in the series, The Fall of Hades, will be published Sept. 13, 2016.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byEighteen Y. October 28, 2020

Underrated teen series

I read the series year by year upon releases, starting when I was in middle school. Romances are very PG, the story is lovely, and the characters are great. I... Continue reading
Adult Written byT F October 25, 2017

Bully the bullies

This book was assigned to my 10-year-old at school. I have several concerns with this. My biggest concern is that there is no appropriate guidance on how to re... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byBookReaderYaKnow April 22, 2021

Truly Amazing Book

I started this series in 6th grade and I have read all of the books many times. This is one of my favorite series and it has a lot of positive messages and a re... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byEthan R October 1, 2020

The Michael Vey books are fun and exciting

Great book to read and has no bad language and no sexual content other than some kissing. There is action but is not gory. It is a must read for book lovers.

What's the story?

Tired of being pushed around by bullies, Michael Vey unleashes his secret electrical powers, zapping them into unconsciousness. That loss of control is the first step toward Michael being recruited for the sinister Elgen Academy, where superpowered teens are being groomed to rule the world. When agents from Elgen kidnap his mother and one of his schoolmates, Michael sets off on a cross-country quest to rescue them. 

Is it any good?

Another tale of misfit teens with secret mutant powers might seem overly familiar to some readers, but this series opener has enough wit and charm to smooth over most objections. In THE PRISONER OF CELL 25, author Richard Paul Evans maintains a relatively light touch on the material, keeping the suspense high without descending into overwhelming angst. Michael's friendships with studious Ostin Liss and cheerleader Taylor Ridley keep the story grounded, even if the story's villains are a little too self-consciously dastardly. The book ends with a cliffhanger, and most readers will be eager to pick up the next installment, Rise of the Elgen

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about superhero stories. Why are they so popular in books, movies, cartoons, and on TV shows? What aspects of the genre appeal most to readers and filmgoers?

  • How does Michael struggle with knowing when to use his electrical powers? How does Michael defend himself against the aggression of others with electric powers?

  • Is violence a useful strategy in resolving disputes?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi and adventure

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