A young orphan, hidden powers, good versus evil, and a special school. Sounds like Harry Potter? Well, it’s not. It has some of the same elements as Harry’s story, but it has an original plot and characters. This book has super heroes and evil robo-zombies from outer-space, and is about a young boy’s adventures on an extraordinary island.
When the story begins Jack lives in an orphanage. He likes to read comic books because they allow him to escape from his dreary life. Comic books, however, aren’t allowed at the orphanage because “These ridiculous magazines poisoning your brain with nonsense. Childish nonsense,” according to Ms. Theedwheck, one of the orphanage caretakers.One day, a rather unexpected visitor arrives at the orphanage. Jack soon finds himself on remarkable island where super heroes from his comic books live in real life! Jack’s unexpected escape to the Imagine Nation is beyond anything he could have dreamed of at the orphanage.
But not everything is perfect. Jack soon learns that he might be an evil robot himself! Although he’s pretty sure that he’s not evil, not everyone believes him. And, the possibility of being an evil robot attracts lots of unwanted attention, especially when the Imagine Nation press portrays him as a spy for the evil robo-zombies who have previously tried to take over the world. To make matters worse, he seems to have made enemies with a very important man who probably wants to kill him.
Overall, this a pretty good book, however the beginning chapters are poorly written. They are very childish, and had my brother not told me to keep going, I do not think I would have read on. Part of the reason the beginning is childish is the names the author gives to some of the places. For example, the island is called “Imagine Nation,” and the orphanage where Jack lives at the start of the story is called “St. Barnaby’s Home for the Hopeless, Abandoned, Forgotten, and Lost.” These names made it hard to take the story seriously at times. In addition, some of the characters who are supposed to be mean are exaggerated, but without an explanation for why they are as cruel as they are. Also, the fact that Jack once took a test for possible career jobs at orphanage and got “Toothbrush Cleaner” is just too silly. However, after the first few chapters, the writing gets much better, and I enjoyed the rest of the book.
This is the first book in a great trilogy. The two other books are just as existing and adventurous as this one (without the silliness of the first few chapters in this book).
Over all, I think this is a great book for kids who enjoy fantasy ages 9-12.