Thursday, March 9, 2017

Boy X by Dan Smith

Boy X
My name is Ash, and my mother has twenty-four hours to live. Cain and Pierce exposed her to a deadly virus called Kronos, and I must steal the antidote back from them. However, I must survive a trek through the thick Black Island jungle full of experimental plants, animals, and Thorn, Pierce's henchman. He'll gut us if we're found. I must pause here and tell you something else. I awoke this morning in a laboratory and discovered I've changed in the past couple days; all of my senses and physical abilities are stronger. I can hear your heart beat, I'm stronger, and I don't get tired like you. The cuts I got on my feet an hour ago are now healed. Luckily, I'm not alone in the jungle now. Isabel helped me escape from the lab and knows exactly where we're going. However, my mom said Kronos was confined to one room in the lab... but she was wrong. Isabel has the virus and is quickly dying too.

This book should appeal to lovers of science fiction and adventure. Once again, we have a young character discovering his new powers, although Ash's natural abilities are just enhanced; he's Ash Plus. The author does a nice job of keeping readers guessing about the characters' motives. It's hard to tell if Cain, Thorn, or even the howler monkeys are evil or good. Thorn says he's there to help, but Ash still has his doubts. Throughout the plot, a pessimistic voice in his mind keeps telling Ash how he's going to fail and die. I don't think this is necessary, although I like how he reminds himself of his strength when things get tough. The author strikes a balance between Ash's fears and his new-found abilities. The chapter titles tick down the time until Shutdown; the moment when Ash's mother will die. This countdown adds to the suspense of the plot. The resolution of the book reveals there's a sequel in the works. I suspect the sequel will be much different from Boy X.

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