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Evil Genius

Review

Evil Genius

At
the age of seven, when you and I were learning our multiplication
tables, Cadel Piggott was studying complicated electrical systems.
At the age of 10, Cadel could tie up an entire city's worth of
traffic. He progresses through high school the way most people
progress one or two grades. Although he has more book smarts than
anyone, he's unpopular, and more than one of his teachers suspect
he's responsible.


His adoptive parents, Stuart and Lanna, don't seem to know how to
handle him and send him to a psychologist, Dr. Thaddeus Roth. Dr.
Roth, unlike Cadel's parents, knows exactly how to talk to him and
encourages his criminal activities. There's only one rule, says Dr.
Roth: Don't get caught. With financial and technological
help from his biological father, imprisoned criminal Phineas
Darkkon, Cadel expands his repertoire of destruction and
mayhem. 


In 11th grade, Cadel launches his most ambitious enterprise to
date: Partner Post, an online dating service. By watching his
fellow students and throwing in a little (mostly) reliable math, he
believes he'll be able to predict human behavior. Dr. Roth warns
him against this, saying that even though there are many
personality tests available, there is no one formula that will
determine human behavior. By posing as a Canadian math professor,
Cadel forms an online relationship with a woman named Kay-Lee, a
number theorist who truly seems to understand what Cadel is
about.


After he graduates from high school, Dr. Roth encourages Stuart and
Lanna to send Cadel to the Axis Institute, the school founded by
Phineas Darkkon. Cadel's class schedule at Axis includes classes
like forgery and embezzlement, listed on the seemingly innocuous
course catalog as "Cultural Appreciation" and "Accounting." At
Axis, Cadel learns that his father has a plan to eventually divide
the world into two kinds of people: the genetically superior,
criminally intelligent rulers, and everyone else.


Cadel hardly has time to ponder this plan before his classmates
start dying and disappearing. Between the deaths, the
dismemberments and his conversations with Kay-Lee, Cadel has to
wonder if he's right to continue with all his studies. Then again,
with some of the world's greatest forgers and computer hackers
watching everything he does, could he stop even if he wanted
to? 


It's STORMBREAKER meets UGLIES in this layered story about
identity, lies and criminal masterminds. EVIL GENIUS doesn't have
the car-chase speed of most of the espionage books you've read and
movies you've seen, but the trip through computer networks, bank
accounts and classrooms is just as thrilling. In a school full of
criminals, honesty can kill you, and Cadel has to think fast in
order to save himself and Kay-Lee from the people his father would
like to see wiped out. You'll always try to guess what comes next
and who the individuals in the story really are.


Visit their houses. Read their email. Go through their
garbage.


Just don't get caught.


    -















Reviewed by Carlie Webber on October 18, 2011

Evil Genius
by Catherine Jinks

  • Publication Date: May 1, 2007
  • Genres: Thriller
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
  • ISBN-10: 0152059881
  • ISBN-13: 9780152059880