Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Subject Seven

Subject Seven is the first young adult novel from author James A. Moore. Moore is best known as a writer of horror fiction with books such as Deeper and Blood Red. His novel Serenity Falls was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel. He's also written for Marvel Comics, White Wolf, Cemetery Dance, and many other publishers.
Now Moore (Jim is actually a friend but I'm trying to keep this review distanced by treating him like any other author.) shows he can write a fast paced suspense novel with elements of science fiction aimed at the YA market. The titular Subject Seven is a genetically engineered boy with amazing capabilities. He's faster, stronger, and smarter than average humans. Seven's creators make the mistake of treating the boy like a lab specimen and he escapes from their underground compound, wreaking havoc and setting the book's main plot into motion.
I can't tell you much more about Seven because the slow reveal of exactly who and what he is is perhaps the most fun part of the book. Suffice to say that while Seven is unique, he isn't the only one of his kind. Things really heat up when Seven finds the rest of his "family".
I was sufficiently taken with the book to read two thirds of it at a sitting, when I had originally planned to just read the opening chapters. The plot moves quickly once things get going and just pulls you along. There's quite a bit of action and the violence level is fairly high, but I see that more in YA books these days, and Moore told me that even he was a bit surprised by what he was able to get into the book. The YA market has come a long way since the days when I was reading The Three Investigators books and the like.
One of the things that I particularly liked about the book is that the lines between heroes and villains are sometimes blurred. There were times when I didn't know who to be rooting for because the protagonist isn't always the nicest guy in the world, and sometimes you find yourself wondering if things might be safer if he were caught. But then it's also a lot of fun to see he and his friends cut loose against the people who are hunting them. That paradox is actually appropriate to one of the central themes of the book, come to think of it.
As I said, Subject Seven is a lot of fun. It's presumably the first book in a series, so I hope It does well. Not just because the author is a pal, but because I'm already ready for the next volume. According to Amazon the book will hit the stores in late January. Check it out.

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