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Comment: This item is in good condition. All pages and covers are readable. There are no stains or tears. Dust jacket is present if applicable. May contain small amounts of writing and/or highlighting. Spine and cover may show signs of wear. May not contain supplementary items. We ship within 1 business day. Big Hearted Books shares its profits with schools, churches and non-profit groups throughout New England. Thank you for your support!
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Evil Genius Paperback – October 4, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Genius Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Is it possible to cultivate readers' affection for a character who has been trained from his tenderest years to dismiss evil as a "loaded word"? Australian writer Jinks, author of the Crusades-era Pagan series, successfully meets the challenge in this very different novel. She devises gradations of wrongdoing so steep that her antihero's adversaries leave him (almost) smelling like a rose. At age seven, child prodigy Cadel Piggott lands in a shrink's office for illegal computer hacking, where psychologist Thaddeus Roth delivers startling counsel: "Next time, don't get caught." Thaddeus is an agent of Cadel's real father, a brilliant crook who, from behind bars, manages to place Cadel at the secretive Axis Institute for World Domination. By 13, Cadel is earnestly studying "Infiltration, Misinformation, and Embezzlement," but as he increasingly relies on an outside friendship, he privately plots to extricate himself from the paterfamilias.Comic-book fans will enjoy the school's aspiring villains (including one who floors foes with deadly B.O.), but this is more than a campy set-piece. Cadel's turnabout is convincingly hampered by his difficulty recognizing appropriate outlets for rage, and Jinks' whiplash-inducing suspense writing will gratify fans of Anthony Horowitz's high-tech spy scenarios. Although some of the technical concerns of evil geniuses (firewalls, tax shelters, nanotechnology) may stymie less-patient readers, most will press on, riveted by the chilling aspects of a child trapped in adult agendas that, iceberglike, hide beneath the surface. Mattson, Jennifer
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

* "As the complex deceptions that have shaped Cadel's life come to light, his emotional unraveling and awakening will likely engross readers."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

* "Jinks fills out the cast with brilliantly conceived friends and adversaries . . . Cadel rides right up there with Artemis Fowl as a sympathetic anti-villain."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* "Whiplash-inducing suspense writing will gratify fans of Anthony Horowitz's high-tech spy scenarios."--Booklist, starred review
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152061851
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152061852
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Identity is a theme central to many YA books, however multiple award-winner Jinks comes at it from a slightly different angle than most in her latest novel. Thirteen year old genius Cadel Piggott lives in Sydney (Australia) with his distracted parents. Unfortunately, his advanced intellect makes it hard for him to understand how other people think, and he has no social skills. Bored out of his skull, Cadel quite naturally gets into some mischief (in this case some computer hacking). As a result, he's taken to see a psychologist, who, refreshingly, treats him like an adult. In a twist straight out of Joseph Campbell, the psychologist reveals that Cadel is in fact the secret son of incarcerated international arch-villain Dr. Darkkon. Fortunately for Cadel, the psychologist is Dr. Darkkon's agent and has been put in place to act as intermediary (and indoctrinator).

Cadel's brilliance and innate arrogance are played to, as he is told that his true father is working on a plot for world domination. Dr. Darkkon is sick of dim-wits running the show, and wants Cadel at his side to help him in this scheme. Toward that end, Cadel's progress through high-school is accelerated, and soon he's left that unhappy experience behind (with a parting gift of both physical and social wreckage), and is enrolled at the Axis Institute. A facade of higher education, its chemistry classes are all about poisons, art classes are about forgery, and the computer classes all about hacking. Cadel joins a class of freaks and geeks recruited from all over as prospective sidekicks or useful tools for Dr. Darkkon's plans.

So far, so good. Cadel is a cold character and while the book is obviously somewhat tongue-in-cheek with the arch-villain and the Evil U, Cadel's underlying melancholy is all too real.
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Format: Paperback
Cadel Piggott isn't your typical kid. For one thing, he's extremely gifted intelligence wise. And for another, he's the son of the evil Dr. Darkkon, who is being held in prison for various crimes.

When Cadel's adopted parents take him to see a psychologist following Cadel's attempts to illegally hack into various computer systems, Cadel falls under the influence of Dr. Thaddeus Roth. Unknown to his adoptive parents, Roth is actually part of Darkkon's league of evil and instead of helping Cadel with his issues, Roth is helping Cadel embrace his evil side and learning how to be the evil genius his father desires.

The first half of the book, focusing on Cadel's meteoric rise through each grade and his problems relating to his classmates is the stuff of sheer genius. Cadel's use of psychological manipulation of his classmates, teachers and anyone else he comes into contact with is purely delightful. Seeing how Cadel figures out how to disrupt traffic patterns in his first attempts at evil plots is wonderful, but the real stroke of genius is Cadel's opening an on-line dating service to draw in unwitting victims and to raise money (Cadel keeps the would-be suitors separated geographically so they don't become any the wiser that it's a scam).

It's once Cadel graduates and decides to attend Axis University, a school set up by Darkkon for the training of evil geniuses, that the book becomes a big bogged down. The middle section, dealing with Cadel's various studies and the characters encountered there, doesn't really move as effortlessly as the first third. Thankfully, things pick up in the final third of the novel with Cadel begins to piece together that things might not necessarily be what they seem. The last hundred or so pages are pure action, with revelations coming quickly and plot twists galore.
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Format: Hardcover
Evil Genius, by Catherine Jinks, is a fresh and clever young adult novel written about a misunderstood child prodigy.

Cadel Piggott is a genius, especially with computers. When he gets into some trouble with the law at the age of seven, he foster parents take him to a psychologist who helps him discover his full potential. And eventually tells Cadel that his real father is none other than the villainous Dr. Phineas Darkkon.

Cadel's psychologist encourages his family to send Cadel to the Axis Institute. But the college is more than it seems. Also known as the Axis Institute for World Domination, it's actually a higher learning center for students who want to study from one of the three schools of Deception, Destruction, and Organic Distortion (also known as Applied Arts, Environmental Science, and Biomedical Science). There is even a fun website that you can visit to find out more about the institute and it's students and faculty. When Cadel's classmates begin dropping out (and dying) one-by-one, he begins second guessing his decisions. And the more secrets and evil that he uncovers, the less he likes who he has become.

Evil Genius is full of incredibly unique and creative characters. When I first began reading this, Cadel seemed to be the antithesis of Harry Potter. But Cadel actually has more depth to his character. And this is no story for smaller children. There are many deaths, though none are graphic. This is marketed to 12 years and up, and I agree. But a warning that the book is lengthy, with plenty of technical jargon, that I tended to skim over.

With more twists and turns than the Los Angeles freeway system, Evil Genius is a wonderfully surprising treat for all fans of great literary supervillains and those striving for world domination.
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