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The Lab Hardcover – November 1, 2008

4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Agent Six of Hearts Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up—In a time far into the future in a city isolated from the rest of the world, ChaoSonic controls all of the residents. But, there is one group that refuses to stay under its thumb—the Deck. It has a secret weapon in the fight against the enemy—Agent Six of Hearts. He is like no other human ever seen; in fact, he isn't totally human. Created through insidious and illegal experiments by the Lab, a division of ChaoSonic, he is a clone made up of human DNA, cheetah muscle, bloodhound nose, shark skin, elephant brain, and peregrine bones and eyes. He's the best agent ever to work for the Deck, helping to thwart the organization that created him 16 years earlier. He escaped the Lab when he was a baby and has stayed out of sight ever since. Only his boss, the King of Hearts, knows his secret. Then he is captured by ChaoSonic operatives. Yet, one of them is different from the rest. In Kyntak, Six sees another boy whose past is the same as his own. Can he trust him? Can the experimentation, torture, and cloning at the Lab ever be stopped? Fans of Anthony Horowitz's "Alex Rider" (Philomel) or James Patterson's "Maximum Ride" (Little, Brown) series will be hooked on this novel. An action-packed, suspense-filled story.—Traci Glass, Eugene Public Library, OR
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Even though it was written when the author was in high school, this action-packed page-turner features steady pacing, taut prose, and even a little character development. In a polluted world reduced to a single walled island of nine billion people, teenage Agent Six of Hearts belongs to a secret organization called The Deck that battles the excesses of ChaoSonic, the corporation that controls everything. The product of a mysterious laboratory where bird, shark, and even plant genes were added to his DNA, Agent Six has superhuman abilities and considers himself a machine—until, that is, he meets a laughing, reckless fellow experiment with similar powers who prods him into accepting his humanity. This personal progress is accomplished amidst a barrage of video game–style spy stuff, battles, rescues, car chases, explosions, escapes, and surprisingly well-oiled wheels within wheels. A strong start; stay tuned for sequels. Grades 5-8. --John Peters
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 2nd edition (November 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545068606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545068604
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,815,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jack Heath is the author of REPLICA and many other sci-fi thrillers for young adults. He started writing THE LAB when he was 13 and had a publishing contract for it at 18. The book has since been adapted into a screenplay.

He has been shortlisted for a Kids Own Australian Literature Award (KOALA), a Young Australians Best Book Award (YABBA), two Aurealis Awards, the Nottinghamshire Brilliant Book Award, the National Year of Reading "Our Story" Collection and the Young Australian of the Year Award.

In the course of his research, Jack has gone scuba diving with sharks, traveled through Texas, Russia, and Cambodia, trained with firearms, toured prisons and interviewed guards, examined body parts at the morgue, read only books by women for a year, been a stunt driver, played bass in a rock band and performed street magic for an afternoon. He is also on the board of the ACT Writers Centre.

Jack lives in Canberra, Australia with his wife and their son.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Meet Agent Six of Hearts. He's the strongest, fastest, most clever, and most effective member of a special group of field agents working in the Deck, a vigilante organization intent on establishing justice in a dangerous and corrupt world. Six is the best of the Deck's agents--and he's only sixteen. What the people at the Deck don't know, and can't find out, is that Six is the product of a genetic experiment by the Lab to create superhumans, the very kind of thing the Deck fights to prevent. When Six is assigned to investigate the Lab, he risks exposure. If the Deck learns of his identity, he'll likely be treated as a traitor and subsequently punished. And if the Lab discovers that Six is out and about, he knows he'll be pursued until capture. Either way, this is going to be Six's most dangerous mission yet.

The Lab starts with a dramatic action scene and continues to be action packed until the very last page. There are seriously very few pages in this novel that don't include a fight scene, chase scene, or danger. All this makes for an undoubtedly exciting and edge-of-your-seat suspense filled story that is quite difficult to put down. As with many purely action novels, the book starts to break down with characterization. Protagonist Six is superhuman, and unfortunately, a cold and distant personality results from it. Six's inability to relate to the normal humans around him makes him almost inhuman and inaccessible to the reader. Heath does attempt to develop Six's character, but it's a little sloppy, especially at first. Six's questioning of this identity, origins, and their significance is awkward and out of place amidst the nearly constant danger Six is usually immersed in.
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Format: Hardcover
I was initially hooked by the unique take on creating an agency utilizing a deck of cards. Clever, original. Hooked.

At first, the story drug a little. I wasn't entirely taken in until the action truly picked up and Agent Six realized he was being followed. The chase scene involving running, malls, parking garages and destroyed cars was well written and fast-paced. I was right there with Six.

Towards the latter half of the book, I could not put it down. The action did not cease and Six only became a deeper and more intense character.

I subsequently looked on here for additional books, hoping it was a series, but couldn't find any. I did a Google search on him and found his Australian website. This is the first book in a series of FOUR. His fourth comes out this fall in Australia. I found out that Scholastic has picked up the remainder of the series and will be releasing them over the next few years here in the States. Fantastic!

I would recommend 2 things:
1. Read this book.
2. Check out the guy's website. There are some short stories and details of his other series. Yes, an entire other series based on a brilliant teenaged girl who pulls off high-stakes heists.

I love that I have found a new and engaging writer. Thank you, Scholastic!
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Format: Hardcover
Agent Six of Hearts works to save innocent people and uncover the truth. He participates in many dangerous missions, often getting himself nearly killed. But Agent Six has never failed a mission -- and he's only sixteen years old.

But that isn't why Agent Six seems to be so perfect. The truth is that Agent Six was made to have almost super-human powers, to be a killing machine. And now Agent Six must save his country and also hide from the corrupted government officials who are trying to find their super-killers that they created.

Jack Heath writes a mysterious and action-packed novel that is sure to please any 007 fans. He creates a world where people are terrified under a suppressive government and it's up to The Deck, a super-secret organization, to save the innocent civilians and uncover the government's secrets.

With a cliffhanger at the end, THE LAB is sure to be the next Alex Rider series...

Reviewed by: Steph
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Format: Hardcover
Jack Heath has developed an interesting character in Six of Hearts. One begins to think of concepts of perfection, greed and living a life of purpose. He also raises an interesting thought when he shares his vision of a world filled with robots. A world where humans wouldn't need to work, and money wouldn't be needed as the robots would provide for all our needs. What a novel idea! Certainly creative and thought provoking.

Positives: Creative names of characters basing them on a deck of cards. Some parts of the novel were engrossing, but these were too few for my liking.

Negatives of novel: First chapter didn't captivate me...I persevered and in some respects I am glad that I did...Did the novel offer any meaningful insights about life or even our possible futures? Maybe. Some parts were overly descriptive and I don't believe there was enough in the 318 or so pages to engross the reader in the story. More depth is needed please Jack.

I rate this novel a 3/5 because it was a good book and it poses some interesting ethical questions regarding cloning, robotics and our future.
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