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Brainboy and the Deathmaster

by Tor Seidler


Book Review

:

Publishers Weekly :

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In Seidler's (Mean Margaret) diverting book, 12-year-old orphan Darryl Kirby, a video game prodigy, discovers a sprawling new online game at the shelter where he is dumped. In a matter of days, the game's inventor, Keith Masterly (an eccentric billionaire, himself once a boy genius, with a career almost parallel to that of Bill Gates), shows up to adopt Darryl, then whisks him away to Masterly's high-tech lab/fortress, Paradise. There, Darryl and several other hand-picked young geniuses are put to work on Masterly's secret project: eternal life through DNA manipulation. The children are each given a daily "vitamin," which stifles their memories of who they are and where they came from-until Darryl skips the pills and discovers Masterly's entire plan, which ultimately involves disposing of the young researchers. The set-up is excellent, but a few structural flaws mar the compelling story: the ending feels rushed; Darryl's discovery of the secret of immortality after just a few days in the lab seems unlikely given this fantasy's narrative logic; and readers receive no explanation for Masterly's shift from child genius to evil madman. Still, the language, invariably crisp and bright, makes for a quick read. As with Seidler's first book, The Dulcimer Boy, the core message-children do stand a chance against the cruelties of the world-always bears repeating. Ages 8-12.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.:

Book Review

:

School Library Journal :

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Gr 5-7-A fast-paced, science-fiction adventure. Darryl recently lost his entire family in a horrible fire, and now resides at an orphanage funded by Keith Masterly, founder of the world's largest computer empire. After Darryl plays exceptionally well on the version of "Stargate" found on the laptop in his room, he's unexpectedly adopted and whisked away by Masterly himself. At first, the boy is thrilled to be a part of Paradise Lab, where there are lots of other smart kids like him, all helping Masterly conduct science experiments aimed at "conquering time." But Darryl and his friend Nina come to realize that Masterly's ultimate goals are deadly, and it's up to them to rescue everyone from a madman's evil grip. Though the plot, and especially the ending, is far-fetched, Seidler has created empathetic characters and writes at a level that is accessible even to readers not usually drawn to this genre. Despite the high-tech backdrop, it is Darryl's emotional journey that resonates and makes this novel a worthwhile purchase.-Ronni Krasnow, New York Public Library

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.:

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