Will West has been specially trained for years to follow his dad’s rules and pretend to be completely normal. He’s never needed to use the rules until now. With men chasing him, his mother acting like a stranger, and his sudden acceptance into a very elite school in Wisconsin, Will knows something is terribly not right. With the help of a resourceful cab driver and an interesting character named Dwayne, Will arrives at the Center, a school for kids that are exceptionally gifted. There are strict rules at the Center. No outside technology allowed to encourage face-to-face communication, which, for Will is with his four new roommates: Elise, Brooke, Ajay, and Nick. As Will becomes accustomed to the Center, he’s not out of danger as he realizes that there are people within the Center who mean harm to him too. Secrets, suspicion, and plots surround Will, his friends, his past, and his family. Within the school, a secret group called the Knights of Charlemagne have it in for him, and oh yeah, there are a bunch of monsters that want him dead and kidnapped his parents. Can Will figure out what is really going on and how to stop it before he’s dead meat?
Book 2, Alliance, comes out on January 7, 2014.
This book, while very large and possibly exhausting for some readers, has a great deal of potential. Despite some reviewers comparing it to Harry Potter (and there are some similarities), I find that it is nowhere near as easy to understand as HP. When writing this review, I had a hard time writing the facts about the story simply because there are so many details missing (that may be revealed in subsequent books), but the reader might feel necessary to fully understand and appreciate the book. Nevertheless, Will is an engaging and likeable main character. He’s resourceful and full of useful tips, unafraid to stand up for himself and his friends or anyone he feels is being treated unjustly. His friends are a funny mix, and also very likeable. One of the things that impresses me most about this book is the interesting descriptions of the special technology used at the Center. Older teen boys will like this book, I think, based on this. Other comparable books are the I Am Number Four and The Maze Runner series.
Good read, but borrow this book before you buy it. (I didn’t absolutely love it, but I did not dislike it either. I reserve judgment for the next book in the series.)