Monday, September 29, 2014
Book Review: Hunt for Jade Dragon
Recommended for: Ages 11 to Adult
Rating: PG (mild romance and action violence)
Michael and his friends must rescue a child prodigy as the thrilling action continues in this electrifying fourth installment of the #1 New York Times bestselling series!
Michael, Taylor, Ostin and the rest of the Electroclan head to China in search of a girl who may have discovered why Michael and his friends became electric. Her name is Lin Julung, or Jade Dragon, and she's a child prodigy with an IQ higher than Einstein's—and Ostin's.
But Hatch gets to her first, and the Elgen are holding her prisoner in their Taiwan Starxource plant. Now the Voice wants Michael and the Electroclan to go to Taiwan and free her before Hatch can realize his dreams of an army of electric children.
The hunt for Jade Dragon is on, and it's a race against time!
My sisters and I almost never buy books new. I mean, it's an occurrence so rare it's practically nonexistent. But after getting Michael Vey 1: The Prisoner of Cell 25 from the library, we have bought every Michael Vey book as they are released. I wish I didn't have to wait until next year for book 5.
The Michael Vey books are primarily written in 1st person, though there are usually 3rd person sections about other characters. I did like how in this one there were no lengthy portions about the bad guys as there were in previous books. I found those parts kind of boring, so I was glad Jade Dragon avoided it. It was written in an engaging matter that didn't dumb down language for kids. Maybe it wasn't the best at character point of view, and there were sections that were a bit confusing, but I still loved it.
The Electroclan travels a lot. In the first book, though technically they're not the Electroclan yet, they go to Pasadena. Book 2, Rise of the Elgen, takes them to Peru. Book 3, Battle of the Ampere, sees more action in South America. In Hunt for Jade Dragon, they are first at a secret base somewhere in the U.S., and then travel to Taiwan. I'm not that well traveled, but I do know Richard Paul Evans has traveled to many of the places he writes about, and I think it makes it seem realistic. And the eels with yellow mucus on them. It makes it even more gross to have heard the author talking to Glenn Beck about how he and his daughter were actually served that.
Also, nearly forgot since this is book 4, but I haven't reviewed any of the others, so I haven't said it yet: The electric powers are extremely well done. For some superheroes, it doesn't really make sense how they got their powers. Like the Hulk. Gamma radiation would kill a person. The electric children gained powers when the MEI (can't remember exactly what it stands for, something to do with electric imaging) was tested early at a hospital in Pasadena. Most of the babies born during that testing period died, but seventeen survived, having been made electric. This electricity manifests itself in different ways for each electric child, giving them different powers. I personally think it was done in a very believable way. For sci-fi, anyway.
I have sort of mixed feelings about the plot, mostly in regards to the pacing. I loved the story, I read the whole 300+ page book in two days. The second half of the book has a lot of action and several twists and turns that left me going, "Wait, what?" I liked the down time they got at the beginning, though my sister and further reflection have opened up some mixed feelings about that. I really did like that part, and no, I didn't mind Michael and Taylor getting to spend some time together when their lives aren't in immediate danger. It did, however, take up a significant portion of the book, though in story time it only took a few days, while Jade Dragon was still in the possession of the Elgen. My other complaint is with the climax. There was plenty of danger and action leading up to it, but when it actually came, it was like, boom, it's over. It also seemed a bit easy compared to how hard it was to make it to that point. But the lead up for the climax was awesome. All twisty and turny (just not timey-wimey). There are a few kisses, but it is never descriptive, and never anything beyond that, so the romance angle didn't bother me.
Character Development: 4/5
The characters in the Michael Vey books are fairly well developed. I feel like I know Michael and Taylor very well, Jack is decently developed, and Ostin is one who is impossible to ignore. The other members of the Electroclan aren't quite as well developed. This book especially focused on Michael and Taylor to the exclusion of the others, which I didn't really mind that much, but my sister did, so I suppose it's more of a preference. On the other hand, I don't have any difficulty remembering the various powers of the members of the Electroclan, though I wouldn't say I could describe the personalities of Ian, Abigail, McKenna, and Zeus. Oh, and Nichelle is back. That makes things interesting.
In conclusion, Michael Vey 4: Hunt for Jade Dragon does have some literary flaws, but I loved it nonetheless. I enjoyed it immensely, and will most certainly be back for book 5. And, though I rarely go to the movies (a lifetime total of 8 times now, it's so expensive), if movies are made of this series, I will definitely want to see them in theaters. Recommended for lovers of sci-fi and adventure.