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on January 8, 2010
Hmm. My Kindle edition of this book was just fine, without any editing issues. (Maybe Amazon fixed it?) Not only that, but I rather enjoyed this story about a relentless quest for immortality and its legal and ethical implications. This really does seem like a great book for middle schoolers and early high schoolers thanks to its timely topics, as well as those of us who still enjoy young adult books. The dialogue did seem a bit "off" in a few places (the reason why I can't give it five stars) but that's a minor quibble. And as others have noted, there are several scenes that are absolutely riveting and really pull you in. Doctor Dorning seemed possessed the way Captain Ahab was in his quest for the Great White Whale, and Professor Marlowe goes through a personal transformation that's far more than just physical. The pawn in the middle of this story is the homeless boy Miguel, who's horribly naive about life on the streets and yet has something important to teach the old professor, who up to the end of his first life thought he had all the answers. And what Marlowe does at the end finally elevates him to the greatness he assumed he had but didn't his first time around. This is a thoughtful book with both a heart and a soul.
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on August 4, 2010
The topic is very interesting. Wakely has good ideas. The writing is fast-paced, and you get thrilled since the beginning. I love the idea that one day it will be possible to transfer my memory to another human being and I will be able to live again.

And the person whose memory is transferred is a Nobel-prize top-notch scientist, not any ordinary man with average intelligence like myself. This way, the old scientist has the chance to further his studies when his memories are transferred to a young recipient. Then, the moral dilemma arises.

Nevertheless, a few things are hard to believe. How come such an intelligent scientist agrees to supplant a boy's memory with his own, knowing that the boy would stop living in order to give him a second chance?

How come the doctor could kidnap a boy who was living in the street but had a mother and a father, and then legally arrange that he inherits the old scientist's fortune? How come his parents noticed him missing but did nothing about it? Some other details are also unbelievable.

And yet, I recommend the novel because it is inspiring, thrilling and exciting. It is not only meant for teens. I am an adult and could enjoy it.
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on September 21, 2009
We are reading this novel now for class, and our teacher said this is actually a science fiction retelling of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Professor Marlowe is Scrooge, and Miguel is Tiny Tim. Even the dialogue mimics Dickens dialogue even though its old fashioned. Based on what some reviewers here have said about the dialogue, that might not have been such a good idea so I would say my rating is actually four and a half stars instead of five. The novel also addresses modern scientific issues like stem cell research and other end of life medical issues, which is the real reason why we're reading it. So far I think its a really good book, and we will be doing some additional research for our book reports. My report will be about late term abortion, which our teacher said is a real hot button issue right now. This has been an enjoyable book.
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on November 2, 2005
I had high hopes for this book, but unfortunately, was extremely disappointed. Two things really lept out at me. First, one of the major characters is a child, however, like many authors, Mr. Wakely has trouble writing a child. His child is really more of a short adult, rather than a child. He talks like an adult, and mostly reacts like an adult. Kids are hard to write, but this isn't one. Secondly, the "mind transplant", or whatever it's called, doesn't behave in a believable manner on the child. Instead of merging in and gradually taking over the child, it's pretty much binary. The kid goes back and forth between being the old professor in a short body, or being the kid. No blurring of the personalities, no merging of memories, nothing that would really make this an interesting tale of one mind taking over, simply a binary exchange of the two.
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on August 30, 2005
The only reason I'm bothering to review this book is so others like me won't be fooled by the 5 star rating into thinking this is some masterpiece of literature. It's a pretty cool story, but only deserves to be maybe 50 pages, not 170. There is just endless tedious dialogue that bored me so badly that I skimmed over the last 40 pages in about 15 minutes just to find out the ending. The characters don't seem real at all; their dialogue is incredibly "on the nose". Most of the scenes had either no suspenseful buildup or no interesting climax. The core idea and the ending were okay, which is why I give 2 stars instead of 1.
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on October 7, 2012
This book is in excellent condition and a very good read. My son needed this book but could not find it anywhere. thanks so much.
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on August 24, 2005
A superbly intriguing and original plot. Don't read any of the reviews that give away the plot - just enjoy the author's imagination that led to this unique story of possible immortality.
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on September 6, 2009
I read this book based on what I now consider to be some overly generous reviews, particularly those that compared it favorably to Flowers for Algernon. I was disappointed. The idea is great; the writing is not. The dialogue was like nails on a chalkboard after awhile -- it was awkward, stilted and unrealistic. Miguel's dialogue was particularly off the mark for a homeless boy with Spanish speaking parents. Beyond the writing, the story itself did not live up to the 4- and 5-star reviews. Rather than gradually acquiring Percival's memories, Miguel would essentially morph into Percival from time to time (a la The Shaggy Dog). The author would have benefitted from either expanding the novel, with more time devoted to the personal and social ramifications of the experiment, or condensing it to a short story. I'm giving the book 2 stars based on the interesting premise and two ultimately likeable characters, Percival and Miguel. (Dorning is one-dimensional.) I would also recommend better proofreading for Wakely's next effort!
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on March 23, 2009
The Kindle version of this book is a bad editing job. Broken words, random paragraphs, missing and added words. But that almost doesn't matter, because the diaglogue is so tedious, and the storyline so predictable that this book would be a waste of time in any format.
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VINE VOICEon June 23, 2005
Professor Percival Marlowe is an elderly astrophysicist. The former Nobel Prize winner is one of the most brilliant scientific people of our century. He is at the brink of completing his greatest research. However, due to his rapidly declining health there is not enough time to finish it before he dies.
Doctor Carl Dorning was a highly regarded neurosurgeon who had a brain storm during an operation. He resigned from his work in order to turn his time toward proving his idea. For almost twenty years Carl secretly works in his basement lab on transferring one person's memories into another person's mind. Carl finally convinces Percival, the man he respects above all others, to fund the experiments.
Miguel Sanchez is a homeless, pre-teen boy. His mother is recovering in a medical facility. He has no idea where his cruel father currently is. So Miguel lives on the street with a few older kids, begging cash from passing traffic. Carl convinces Miguel to live with Percival for awhile and keep the fading professor company during his last days. In return, Miguel will have a roof over his head, three meals a day, and then receive "the gift of truly superior intelligence".
Percival and Miguel believes Carl's experimental surgery would transfer Percival's memories into Miguel's brain. Then Miguel would either instantly gain Percival's intelligence or occasionally get flashes of the elderly man's memories. Either way, someone would always remember Percival. Carl did not bother to inform either of them that only one set of memories could exist in the boy's head.
As the memories and essence of an astrophysicist comes forth, all that is the boy will be lost forever. The result is a tug-of-war for ownership of an eleven-year-old's body.
**** A scary look at the world of science when an intelligent doctor's morals become twisted. The wish for immortality can be all consuming. Even when one knows that it is morally wrong to take without asking, especially in this manner, the temptation can still be great. Readers get a glimpse into how even the most brilliant minds alive can fear death, try to cheat it, and (hopefully) learn to let go. Do not begin this book believing that you can guess the outcome. This is a very good sci-fi that will leave you in deep thoughts long after you finish reading. ****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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