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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while this book's author has few intellectual aspirations, he does raise issues of human and animal testing, corporate control of society, and video-game assumptions leading to shooting before asking questions. Also, in a book where plot twists are telegraphed, making predictions can be fun.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In corporation-run Satellite City, orphans are used for dangerous product testing. 14-year-old Cosmo manages to escape from the orphanage, nearly getting killed in the process, and finds that he has the ability to see invisible blue creatures that are attracted to accidents and violence, and seem to suck the life out of injured people. He teams up with Stefan, Mona, and Ditto, who have the same ability, and spend their nights seeking out and shooting the Parasites.
But nothing is as it appears. Stefan has a relationship with the corporation that runs the city and is chasing them, Ditto may not be leveling with them about his own motives, Mona is close to a local street gang, and the Parasites, and their deaths, may not be what they appear.
Is it any good?
Colfer displays all his trademarks here: nonstop action, gritty violence, an edgy sensibility written in clichhd B-movie style, gadgets, plot twists, and black humor. It's a potent combination, as Ian Fleming discovered, and has made Colfer one of the most popular children's authors today, especially with tween boys and reluctant readers.
Alert young readers will see the plot twists coming a long way off, but they'll still enjoy the action and the gadgets. The ending hints so broadly at a sequel that it raises a cynical chuckle. But why not? If it's good enough for Bond ...