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 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 10 reviews

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.

Wondering if The Prisoner of Cell 25: Michael Vey, Book 1 is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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
Parent Written bykg29 October 26, 2016

Very entertaining!

Michael Vey The Prisoner of Cell 25 is so entertaining that even reluctant readers will get caught up in the action. Michael is a positive role model who make... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byAiden55 November 6, 2019

Best book Ever

Favorite book of all time. Hands down.
Teen, 17 years old Written bySkyBirdy September 11, 2019

Racist and sexist as HELL!!!!!

I like it for the action and sci-fi aspect, but I HAAAAATED the ridiculous amount of sexism and racism in this book. For one Ostin and Michael make many many MA... Continue reading

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

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love sci-fi and adventure

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate