Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Michael Vey by Richard Paul Evans: Review

Michael Vey: Prisoner of Cell 25
By: Richard Paul Evans

Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages
Published: August 9, 2011; Mercury Ink
Source: Received ARC from publisher for review

book website | author facebook


Summary (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 Review: I think that your reaction to the summary of this book will be the best judge of whether or not you are going to like this novel. As I was first reading it, phrases like "It's my story," "but Michael is anything but ordinary," and "Michael will have to rely on his wits, powers and friends if he's to survive," stuck out at me. Not in a good way. In fact the whole summary screamed, "I'm an ordinary book." And it was.

Richard Paul Evans has written many best-selling novels for adults, and this is his first foray into the world of young adult fiction. And it seems to me that he's got a lot to learn. One of the major problems with this novel is that the characters do not act their age. Case in point (from my uncorrected proof):
My birthday was the one time of the year that my mother said nothing when I filled my plate with more whipped cream than crepe.

She made herself a simple crepe with butter and powdered sugar then sat down next to me. "I'm sorry I have to work today. Are you sure you're okay with celebrating after school on Monday?"

"I don't care what day we celebrate," I said with my mouth full.

"And we'll have cake and ice cream tonight. Do you and Ostin still want to go to the new aquarium on Monday?"

"Yeah. And can we go to PizzaMax for dinner?"

"Whatever you want. It's your day." She smiled at me and her eyes got all sparkly. "I can't believe you're fifteen. Another yaer and you'll be driving. You've grown into such a fine young man. I am so proud of you."
I've never been a fifteen year-old boy, but I've observed them plenty. I think it's more likely that a 12 year-old boy would ask to go to the new aquarium with his friend and then to PizzaMax with his mother. A fifteen year-old boy would be more likely to tell his mom to shove it and go see an action movie with his friends, or not do anything at all. Birthdays just aren't a big deal to older teenage boys.

Not that I don't appreciate Michael's relationship with his mother. I think, however, that in this case, it was way too over the top.

However, there is the addition of Tourette's syndrome to Michael's character. I think that a lot of teens that struggle with this disorder will really connect to this story because of that element. Like Percy Jackson's dyslexia, it's a way to make something that can be really awkward and embarrassing for a teen into something that can be cool and explainable. And for that, I applaud Evans.

However, as a generally whole, the book was far too cliche and unremarkable for me. From Michael's overweight, nerdy friend Ostin, to the beautiful, popular, but all-inclusive cheerleader Taylor, this book is a cookie-cutter model of a adult writer goes young adult. I suspect, however, that in spite of its lack-luster performance for me, this novel will still be another New York Times bestseller for Evans

My Rating:

13 comments:

  1. After I read the summary, I felt the same way you did. It seems a little blah and cheesy maybe. Electric powers also seem kinda weird. Are they super heroes? I agree about the teenage boy thing. No 15 year old wants to go to an aquarium and pizza planet or whatever. Thanks for the review.

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  2. I agree; I feel the same way after reading the summary. I also agree about the birthday thing. It makes him sound much younger than he is. I don't know any 15-year-old who wants to go to an aquarium for their birthday. Movie, out with friends, or just staying in with friends? Yes. Aquarium and pizza with mom? That's a little unbelievable. I think I'll pass on this one. Thanks for the thorough review!

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  3. The synopsis does sound a little cliche, I agree. And I don't know of any 15-year-old boy who wants to hang out with his mom for his birthday. With as many books as I have to read, I think I'll have to pass on this one. Thanks for the review!

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  4. It sort of sounded interesting but I hate when books are too cliche and kids don't act their age.

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  5. Maybe part of the reason this all sounds so young is to try and hit a tween audience? Kind of makes you wonder if he didn't have any children or nieces and nephews to exploit.

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  6. It's too bad that so many of you are going to avoid this book just because of Emily's simplistic review of his relationship with his mother. I could completely relate to the character and this situation. In the book, Michael was forced to move from town to town in order to conceal his identity (often times because people in the area found out what he was capable of). This boy didn't have a chance to develop relationships with others so his mother became one of his closest 'friends'. While the book may not have appealed to Emily, there is still a large demographic that will absolutely love this book. I know I did.

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  7. AvidReader: had it just been the relationship with the mother, I would have enjoyed the book. However, Michael did not act like at 15-year-old boy that I know. Had this book been targeted at a middle-grade audience, and Michael had been 11 or 12, I think the book would have been much better suited to the audience. However, this is being marketed at a YA audience, and I don't think that many teens in this age range will appreciate how young Michael seems. You may have enjoyed the book, but because I didn't, that doesn't make my review "simplistic."

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  9. The story of Michael Vey is very exciting and enjoyable to read, but on a different level the book also teaches and reinforces positive values.

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  10. Whays wrong with u people?!?! Judging a book by a bad review someone made. I LOVE this book its really good and once u get past the beginning u never take ur eyes off it. Ler me put it this way, READ THE BOOK THEN U WILL BE BEGING FOR MORE!

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  11. And emily: ur dead wrong. I bet if this book was reality u would be with hatch torturing all the people and i would be michael beating u and all the people who agree ur wrong, the rest of electroclan

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  12. i think it was kinda different about his birth day but the over all was just a very hooking story

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