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Sunday, November 22, 2015

ARC The Boy Genius Detective Agency by Robert Grey

When happy-go-lucky Phidias Isaac Newman opens a detective agency in the sleepy Highland Falls ward of the M├ęgapolis he isn't sure what to expect.
The Case of the Vanishing Bones? Sounds like a promising start.
Then, seemingly from nowhere, disaster strikes! Together with his partner, Agent Bubble Gum, the Boy Genius is plunged into the recovery of a mysterious (and deadly) stolen artifact--the Afterthought Resonator.
But then something wonderful happens.
Or does it?
Bubble Gum has always known the Boy Genius is ill mannered, uncouth and never listens to others. (Not that she keeps a list or anything.) But now she learns Phidias is harboring a dark secret.
Of forbidden knowledge that unlocks a terrible power... no one even suspected existed.

I received a copy of this novel from the author in return for an honest review

This is a fun middle grade book. It is well written and the characters are engaging.  This story takes place in the future, the MC lives in a well described district called Highland Falls and underneath it all is an area called The Pell Mell which is described as, "A constantly shi ning sea of shops, stores, hovercarts, street mongers, sky peddlers, vending machines, sunken gardens, ying zoos, passerby's, belongers, commuters, gawkers and much, much more. It was an art show, a freak show, a horror show, a side show. It was the big time, the big top and the main event. It was a carnival, a casino, a bazaar, a food court, another ying zoo!"

The MC, Phidias is a slightly annoying, sarcastic smart aleck boy who works for the Boy Genius Agency full of delightful characters like Lollipop and Bubble Gum, also agents.  All the characters are very vibrant.

They investigate, not really crimes so much...I mean some guys bones vanish, so more like mysterious circumstances. Each chapter has a delightful headline like, "THE WORST GO-FAST CYCLE PILOT IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE" and there are villains like The Sinister Brain.  There are also aliens like the Krell Empire, "a space faring race of slime-tentacle aliens who feed on the brains of humans."  Quite creatively written.

This is volume one, so it ends with the obvious intention of there being a volume two. I liked how there was a major story arc, but there was also other little tidbits that didn't pertain to the main plot..  The book was very fast paced, the ending perhaps a bit rushed.  There is a deleted scene at the end, which was interesting and gives you a little more time with the well developed characters.

My favorite part? The meta, there is a second epilogue which discusses the "Purple Prose Princess" who writes fan fiction about Boy Genius , and it adds a bit of a surprise to the characters personality.

This was a clever and fun read, I had a few issues with the formatting, but it didn't matter much. Plus I am not a big Sci Fi fan and this is very much hover boards, advanced tech, Mass Effect for little kids.  So give it a try, or buy it for a funny kid in your life.

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