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Alex Unlimited, Vol. 1: The Vosarak Code Paperback – May 1, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
I got the book. I read the book. I read it again. I'll more than likely read it yet again during the coming week. It's just THAT much fun.
To say that the jacket blurb doesn't do the book justice is sort of like saying an industrial plasma torch gets warm. Alex is the most personable, most compelling, most REAL character it has been my privilege to get to know in quite a while. Comparisons with Charlotte Doyle or Stanley Yelnats spring to mind.
The villains are thrillingly and unabashedly evil, though of course they don't see it that way. Blaise Pascal once said, "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." That could apply equally well in the case of the trio we meet in these pages.
Dan Jolley has a facility with getting inside his characters' heads that occasionally pulls a goofy grin across my face. I'll read an action sequence and watch how the character behaves and it'll hit me, "That's spot-on! Internally consistent! Believable!" How he managed to do that with an 18-year-old girl speaks volumes either for his imagination or his tenacious research ... or both.
Alex is a curious blend of strength and vulnerability, intelligence and naiveté; on the cusp of becoming an adult, but oddly ill-prepared for the trip. The reader can't help but love her. I have a daughter nearly her age, and I spent a good bit of the book in "daddy" mode, wanting to protect her, wishing there were SOME way I could HELP her. I wanted to bring her to a safe place, to try to let her know that it was going to be all right, that she was a better person than she knew. And the cool thing is that she arrived at those conclusions on her own.
This is a delicious read. Dan Jolley's descriptive prowess and droll turns of phrase are a delight. The action is paced perfectly, not TOO fast to begin with, as we get through the introductions, but soon building ... quickly, logically, as secrets come to light and connections develop. It all just makes so much SENSE it's spooky.
My suggestion would be for the reader to assure herself of sufficient time to devote to reading the last two-thirds of the book without stopping. If something interrupts your reading in that span, you will know the very measure of frustration until you can return to the tale.
Get the book. Read the book. You'll thank yourself.
Alexandra "Alex" Benno isn't your typical teen. Alex has the ability to sift through alternate realities as if they were snowflakes. Ever since she can remember, she's been trained to use her gifts by a secret government agency. Now she uses those same gifts to bring different versions of herself to this reality whenever they're needed. Alex is able to sift through those realities and choose the version of herself that is the best fit for whatever job is at hand.
There's only problem (as there always is!). All of the "other" Alex's are beautiful, tough, [...]-kicking girls who get to see all of the action and ultimately save the day. Unfortunately, the "real" Alex (the one in this reality) is more of a quiet, pretty-but-not-beautiful, stay-in-the-background type of girl. And, frankly, she's tired of it. Tired of not getting the kudos that she deserves for bringing the other Alex's in to the rescue. Tired of always being treated like a little girl who never gets to have a hand in any of the action.
So when the powers that be decide that the current mission is safe enough for Alex to take a front-seat, active role, she's thrilled. Alex needs to work to decipher the Vosarak Code (along with an alternate reality Alex, of course) and stop some bad guys from trying to take over the world. But things don't go exactly as planned, and the real Alex realizes that there might be a reason she never sees much action.
This is a great start to what I hope will be a long-running series in the ALEX UNLIMITED books. You'll immediately be hooked by Alex and all of her alternate versions, and, if you're like me, will be eagerly awaiting the next book in the series to find out what happens next!
Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"
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