Although I did a review of this book already over on Goodreads
, I thought I'd delay writing one here till closer to the true publication date, which is upon us. I had a pleasurable afternoon reading it before I was set to go on a trip this summer, but have been aware that there's been a bit of resistance to it, which I thought I might address here, even while knowing that this review is unlikely to be read by anyone from its true audience, which I think is probably the middle school age range. It is really perfectly suited to the type of kid who enjoys Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider series, which I somehow got involved in on the recommendation of my nephew, and which I've also enjoyed quite a lot. As with Horowitz, I enjoy the range and subtlety of McKinty's efforts for an adult audience more, but that's because, well, I'm an adult.
We have a prologue style opening in Deviant
, which I'll get to in a minute, but once we get to the real protagonists story, Danny Lopez's path reminds me a bit of Jamie O'Neill's in McKinty's previous trilogy, The Lighthouse Books. Both boys leave a big but familiar city for a smaller more isolated place. Danny doesn't find an entry point to another planet, of course, but the world he encounters in the high Rockies of Colorado is a pretty weird one all the same. The school he'll be attending has a lot of very strange rules--though the kids, being kids, soon find ways of circumventing them.
Having been moved around a few times as a kid, I liked the depiction of how Danny has to figure out who his real friends are going to be. It looks easy at first, but isn't necessarily in the long run.
The stakes are a little higher for Danny than just fitting in, though. There's a cat killer on the loose in Cobalt, and along with his skateboard, Sunflower, Danny's cat Jeffrey is one of the few things Danny cares about. Uh oh.
The opening of this book starts in the mind of the cat killer, and I suspect that may be off-putting to some readers. Even I, who have enjoyed all of McKinty's books, wasn't sure I would be able to handle a book written completely in that voice. But have no fear, folks--that's just the set up. It's actually a pretty good little story within itself if you can get past your dread and read it.
A couple of questions did arise while I read the book, and while I'll do my best to make them non-spoilerish, I am going to put them in the comments section, so you have been forewarned.