Warning: contains spoilers
Young-adult author Sophie McKenzie’s latest book is the thriller The Set-up, the first novel in The Medusa Project series. Although I found it a real page turner at times, the plot is somewhat under-thought, and the characters often too predictable.
The story being told is that of a boy, Nico, who develops special powers. His reaction and usage of said powers is more than irksome in places, his repeated refusal to listen to any kind of authority, and his naivety detract from the interesting potential of the book, which doesn’t do the decent idea much good.
You can tell which age range this is aimed at. There are the standard characters-confident young bloke, several love interests, nerd, overprotective parents… The simplistic messages-gambling is wrong, those who partake in it must be bad-could be scented from the start, whilst reading it one can tell who the actual ‘baddie’ is a couple of hundred pages before the grand finale-which isn’t really a surprise.
In all, a good idea, but the execution of it-the simplistic nature, the stereotypical characters, and unsurprising plotline mean that this is not different from any of the other mass-produced novels for young-adults. Personally, I think the age that are most likely to read this is around 10-hardly young adult, and an oversight from McKenzie. It’s not all bad though-the execution-though using somewhat simplistic language-is good, and resulted in a page-turner, read in around a day. As I cannot state enough, I enjoyed the fundamental idea McKenzie based the novel around, but the execution detracted-but not enough for me to not enjoy it.
Publishing house-Simon & Schuster Children’s
Publishing date-2 May 2009
Value for money-average paperback price, perhaps a little overpriced on Kindle-★★★
Character development-unlikeable main character, predictable and stereotypical actions on the main-★★
Readability-enjoyable, and based on swift read time simple to process yet enjoyable-★★★★
Overall-page turner, yet underdeveloped; perhaps a few more months editing may have ironed out these issues-★★★½