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Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Book 1) Paperback – July 10, 2012
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Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25
by Richard Paul Evans
Reviewed by John M. Wills Released: August 9, 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse (336 pages)
." . . my 13-year-old grandson picked it up and began reading the first chapter after I had put it down. He remarked, "Papa, hurry up and finish reading this, I want to see where this story goes." I already know where this is all going: "Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25" is going to be another bestseller for Richard Paul Evans. The book is electric."
Having read much of Richard Paul Evans's work, I knew to expect a wonderful story; however, I admit I was skeptical about reading a novel geared toward children 12 years old and up. My skepticism disappeared quickly as I began reading about the book's protagonist, Michael Vey.
Author Evans has created a character that will entertain both adults and children. I found myself absorbed in the story just several pages in. Michael Vey is, ostensibly, an average teenager, 14 years old, who has the same problems as others in that awkward age group. He finds himself the victim of bullying, mostly due to his facial tics, a result of Tourette's. He doesn't fit in with most kids in school, and the girls avoid him whenever possible.
His only friend, Ostin, the class brain--and therefore a nerd to the school jocks--also endures endless bouts of pranks and teasing. The two likeable adolescents form a bond that enables them to endure the constant gauntlet laid down by their classmates.
At one point in the story an incident occurs in which Michael discovers he has a secret power--he's electric. Although his mother has known this about her son for some time, Michael is just now discovering his abnormal abilities can be used to his advantage.
As the story develops, Mr. Evans creates moral dilemmas that Michael and his friends must face. Questions of ethics and evil versus good become pivotal points and serve to develop a moral comp
5Q 4P M J
Evans, Richard Paul. Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell-25. Simon Pulse, 2011. 336p. $17.99. 978-1-4516-5650-3.
Ninth grade can be brutal, especially if you are an undersized boy dealing with Tourette's syndrome. Add bullies, disingenuous authority figures, a geeky best friend, a loving but financially strapped parent, and you have a relatable protagonist who just happens to have an amazing superpower. Michael Vey can zap people with electricity. With his mother's help, he has been able to keep his "mutation" a secret until the eventful day when popular cheerleader, Taylor, witnesses him defending himself against three tormentors. This event sets into action a chain of discoveries, deceit, and destruction that brings together an unlikely group of young people who must work together to save themselves and others. Throughout these adventures, the author interweaves a plausible scientific explanation for Michael's powers: sixteen years ago, seventeen babies were inadvertently given special abilities. Now, evil powerbrokers want to use these young people to cause international mayhem and gain wealth through extortion. Short chapters with intriguing titles, excellent writing, and engaging characters make this action-packed story a compulsively entertaining read. The tale progresses with altering points of view. Michael tells his story in first-person and Taylor's tale is narrated in third-person. This first book of a planned series has a satisfying conclusion but leaves the reader determined to discover what the next book, Rise of the Electroclan, has in store for our young hero and his friends. Though contemporary and edgy, this book contains no bad language, sex, or gratuitous violence. This is a book Rick Riordan's fans will want to read.
VOYA, October 2011
"Michael Vey: Prisoner of Cell 25", ""by Richard Paul Evans, is one of those books that you'd better give yourself time to read because once you begin, you won't stop! Michael Vey goes to high school in Idaho where he's keeping a secret. He has strange electric powers and soon discovers there's another girl who has similar powers. When both the girl and his mom are kidnapped, the action accelerates! There are more books planned in this series.
"Newton Book News"
Evans, Richard Paul
Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25
2011. 336pp. $17.99 hc. Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster). 978-1-4516-5650-3. Grade 7 & up
Like Richard Evans' adult novels, this title has a message of hope and love. However, this book also has pure adventure, science fiction, and creepy bad guys. Michael Vey has been hiding a secret all his life: he has a superpower. Sixteen other children born in the same hospital at the same time also exhibit unusual electromagnetic powers. Michael and Taylor are the only ones who haven't been collected by the evil, power hungry men. With some help from others, Michael and Taylor free the prisoners of the twisted Elgin Academy where they are held. The book ends with Michael, Taylor, and their new friends banding together to rescue Michael's mother, setting the scenario for a sequel. Although the book starts out rather slowly, the pace picked up. Readers will be looking forward to the next book in the series. Kyla M Johnson, Librarian, Farmington (New Mexico) High School [Editor's Note: Available in e-book format.]
Library Media Connection, Jan/Feb 2012
EVANS, Richard Paul. Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25. 336p. S & S/Pulse/Mercury Ink. 2011. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4516-6183-5; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4516-5822-4. LC number unavailable.
Gr 5-9-Michael Vey, 14, has problems. Not only does he suffer from Tourette's syndrome, but he also has electricity coursing through his body. He can shock people without rubbing his feet on the carpet; he can jump-start his mother's car by holding the battery connectors and "surging," and he can knock bullies who attack him off their feet. Michael and his mother have moved to Idaho because there was an "incident" in his former town, and now he discovers that the prettiest girl in his new school has powers, too. Taylor can read people's minds. Ostin, Michael's best friend, doesn't have powers, but he is wicked smart and helps them to figure out that there is more to the mystery than the fact that they were born in the same hospital within days of each other. Soon there is a terrifying adventure afoot when they are captured and introduced to others with powers who, under the lead of the sinister Hitch, have kidnapped Michael's mother and have evil plans for the world. The dialogue and interactions among the teens seem more like they belong in the 1950s rather than today, but the fast-paced action and cool powers will probably outweigh any negatives.-Jake Pettit, Thompson Valley High School, Loveland, CO
SLJ, November 2011
""Michael Vey" is fantastic. I simply couldn't put it down. I believe "Michael Vey" is every bit as good as "Twilight "or "Harry Potter"."
- Glenn Beck, #1 bestselling author, media personality
"My kind of book-- fast, funny, and strange. Once Michael's astounding powers are revealed, the shocks keep coming chapter after chapter."
- R.L. Stine, #1 bestselling author of Goosebumps
""Michael Vey" is one of the most original thrillers I've come across in years. It's rare that a book can appeal to a young adult just as much as their parents-but Evans has pulled it off."
- Vince Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Evans (The Christmas Box) enters the YA market with this fast-paced... tale of a teenager with superpowers and the conspiracy that created him... Evans delivers a pair of believable lead characters--Taylor has wits and personal integrity, while Michael's Tourette's syndrome, coupled with an emotional jolt from his past, adds dimension."
-"Publishers Weekly", August, 2011
""Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25" by Richard Paul Evans is a fantastic read...because of the realistic writing, the likable characters, and a plot that guarantees non-stop action from almost the first page...Any teen into action, adventure or science fiction will want to make sure "Michael Vey" is on his or her bookshelf."
"- Chicago Examiner.com"
About the Author
Richard Paul Evans is the #1 internationally bestselling author of The Christmas Box and seventeen consecutive New York Times bestsellers. He is also the winner of the American Mothers Book Award and two first-place Storytelling World Awards. He lives with his family in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Is Michael's best friend a cliche? Well, that depends on your understanding of that concept. A cliche is a story element that has become trite or commonplace through overuse. Ostin has been described in other reviews as "a nerdy fat kid." There is a reason we see this type of character with some regularity in YA literature; there are lots of "nerdy fat kids" out there, and they tend to be picked on. I would argue that "nerdy fat kids" are actually UNDERREPRESENTED in fiction of all kinds. If you watch TV shows and movies aimed at teens, you might get the impression that there are NO fat kids out there!
Kids like Michael and Ostin tend to congregate because they are ostracized by "the cool kids." The author would have been attacked as "unrealistic" if he had made Michael's best friend a popular jock. Come to think of it, reviewers have said just that about Michael's relationship with the popular cheerleader. I guess an author just can't win. He's going to be attacked no matter what he does.
I fell in love with these characters almost immediately. I identified with them, and wanted to know what happened to them. That is exactly what is supposed to happen in well written fiction.
Was the story relatively simple? Yes, it was - as is the norm for YA fiction, especially when it is character driven like this story.
I loved the dialog, and did not have a problem with the fact that both boys sounded younger than their 15 years. I have spent time with kids like this in "real life," and understand that they often are a bit socially delayed. Michael and Ostin "rang true" for me, based on many years of experience around teens.
Full disclosure: I am not a member of the target audience for this book, but talk with - and more importantly, listen to -teens every day, and am a big fan of the YA genre. I am neither a fan of Glenn Beck (who owns the imprint under which this book was published), nor of the author, who tends to write the kind of sentimental crap that I avoid like the plague. I just liked the book, and think teens will like it too. I have purchased a copy for my office so I can lend it out to my teen patients.
The story follows Michael Vey, a good young man that has had to move around from place to place with his single mother due to his secret - he has powers: electricity to be exact. We follow him as he learns more about his past, meets some key players in his present, and fights for his future. He discovers other folks like him, and he and a special group of friends set out on an adventure to right some old wrongs, and to free the others like him.
I'd recommend this book, and will probably move on to the next in the series. The ending was a bit of an unexpected cliffhanger.
Michael Vey has always been a little different. He's a little short by fourteen-year-old standards, has Tourette's syndrome, which forces him to blink and twitch excessively, and. . .oh, yeah, has electrical superpowers. Living with his mother in a small apartment in Idaho, Michael finally finds a way to blend into the high school crowd. He's figuratively invisible. Ostin, his only friend and straight A+ nerd, is the only person outside of Michael's family that knows of his powers. One day, after being constantly tortured by older classmates who never receive consequences for their wrongdoings, Michael takes a stand. And does something dangerous. He uses his powers to, lightly, shock three bullies that are about to beat him.
Michael's mom, an understanding, hard-working, caring person, refuses to let Michael to use his powers of electricity. The last few times that Michael used his powers, all times where he was in a situation of being seriously hurt, Michael and his mom packed their bags and moved to another unknown town in another unknown state. But Michael begs his mother to not make them move. He insists that only the three bullies were there to see what happened, and that they would be too scared of being called "crazy" to rat him out. Except, someone else did see Michael use his power of electricity through touch. A girl, named Taylor.
Taylor confronts Michael and asks him how he shocked the three menaces. When Michael doesn't supply a response, she makes him a deal. Taylor reveals to Michael that she, too, has powers. She has the abilities to essentially "reboot" someone's mind. Using electricity, Taylor can make a person disoriented and confused; forget what they were doing.
Constructing an investigation, Taylor, Michael, and sidekick Ostin, the self-proclaimed "Electroclan," discover that both Taylor and Michael were born within one day of each other at a hospital in Pasadena, California. Searching for birth records on the hospital website, Taylor finds a gap of missing records around the time of their birthdays. After more internet research, Taylor, Ostin, and Michael discover that a new electric imaging machine was introduced around the same time as the births of seventeen children in Pasadena.
Unbeknownst to her, Taylor accidentally alerts an internet spider, a hidden internet scanner, which notifies its home base that someone is looking into the missing birth records. The spider was put into place by an agency in Pasadena, an agency that is searching for the two remaining children of the original seventeen: Michael and Taylor. And when Taylor and Michael's mom go missing one day, Michael must take the investigation into his own hands, with the help of his best friend, of course.
Ostin and Michael take an undesirable road trip to Pasadena to get to the bottom of what this agency does, why they're capturing these children, who may or may not be electric, and, most importantly, where they're keeping Taylor and Michael's mom.
Creating an unlikely group, Michael, Ostin, and Taylor are all loveable, relatable characters. A flowing, quick, read, Michael Vey is a book to be enjoyed by people of all ages. Its settings are rich with vivid descriptions and quirky expressions and its story is carefully plotted, allowing sequels galore. While, I'm not sure if it's the next Harry Potter, Michael Vey is certainly a refreshing, funny, mysterious, clean, new addition to a world of wonderful books.