Saturday, October 16, 2010

Subject-ive Commentary

My friend Jim Moore passed along a galley of his upcoming young adult suspense-thriller Subject Seven, and I just got a chance to read through it.  I try to avoid hurting friends' feelings, so I don't write about books I didn't enjoy.

I'm writing about Subject Seven.

The book follows a group of teens who are the results of a program to create genetically engineered sleeper assassins. The plans are simple: keep trying until the program is perfected, destroy the failed experiments.

Then things to wrong. Subject Seven escapes... and in doing so, reveals that he possesses the very skills they've been hoping to instill in their subjects. He's so good, in fact, that even though he's only ten years old, he's able to best his captors and disappear from the program.

Jump ahead five years, and a seemingly unrelated group of teenagers comes together at the behest of a mysterious caller. Once they assemble, they learn that each of them is a failed experiment, and those responsible for their existence want them dead. But that's not as easy as it sounds...

Subject Seven is a fast-paced young adult novel, filled with insightful glimpses into the lives of teenagers who feel that they don't quite fit in. That's normal, of course--and it's the commonality of that makes this such a strong young adult novel. Every teen feels like there's something different about him or her--but in the case of Hunter, Cody, Gene, Tina, and Kyle, there's a good reason to feel that way. The novel takes the commonality of the adolescent experience and uses it as a launching point for a compelling adventure novel that's the kickoff of a potential series.

Moore's writing is taut, lean, and fast-paced. The prose is vivid and energetic, and the storytelling is sufficiently strong to propel the reader through its 300+ pages. As is the case with many young adult novels nowadays, Subject Seven leaves the door wide open for a sequel; hope that we don't have to wait too long! I'm eager to hear more about the true purpose of the program and how Seven and his teen comrades-in-arms find a place for themselves in a world that seems to want them dead and gone.

Look for it in a Razorbill paperback edition in January.

Comics in Bad Taste

My current idea for a comic in such bad taste that no one would ever publish it (or would they)?

A young Jewish girl hides from the Nazis. For many months, she keeps a chronicle of her life in hiding. Then she is found, sent away, and dies in a Nazi concentration camp... which point a scientist finds a way to bring her back to life and turn her into an engine of destruction against her Nazi tormentors.

The title?... Wait for it...

The Diary of Ann Frankenstein.

(Yes, I know it's in wretchedly bad taste.)