“Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25” – The New Heros Are Geeks

Michael Vey : The Prisoner of Cell 25
by Richard Paul Evans

Spoiler Alert!

Michael Vey is small for being 14 years old, has Tourette’s, gets tortured by bullies, has a crush on the most popular cheerleader and has one friend. However, Michael has a secret, he is electric.

When faced with being humiliated by the school bullies, Michael finally has had enough and sends out a charge of electricity nullifying the bullies. Taylor Ridley, the cheerleader, witnessed the event and is filled with questions for Michael. Under pressure Michael admits to Taylor that he has electric powers, and discovers she is an ally who also has unusual powers. Together they begin to look for answers with Michael’s friend, Ostin Liss, the smartest geek the world has ever known. It soon becomes apparent that they are not alone in their gifts and someone is hunting them down. After Michael’s mother is kidnapped and Taylor has gone missing, Michael and Ostin turn to some unlikely allies to stage a rescue. Michael’s gifts just might make it possible.

Adult Point of View

The beginning of Michael Vey : The Prisoner of Cell 25 did not hold my interest. Michael having Tourette’s did not seem to hold any real purpose other than to make Michael a social outcast. There are plenty of kids in school that feel like social outcasts without having Tourette’s and I wonder if the author was using this from his personal experience. I also felt like a voyeur as we learned about the strange life of Ostin, there cannot be too many 14 year old boys who would not throw a fit if their mother was forcing them to take clogging. I also did not love the portrayal of Mr. Dallstrom, it felt like the stereotypical school administrator who is evil and will take it out on the innocent students. Stereotypes are generally boring.

—- Here is an update on my thoughts of 3/10/15
I attended a children’s literacy night where Richard Paul Evans was present to sign books, speak to the youth, ect. He talked about how he wanted to start a revolution through books. The revolution he wanted to start with the Michael Vey series, is that it’s ok to be different because it’s whats inside that matters. Not only does Evans have Tourette’s, but so does one of his sons. The kids in the audience were cheering and going nuts that they want to read more about Michael Vey. Boys who have never liked reading loved this series. Evan received a letter from a mother whose child had just been diagnosed with Tourette’s, when he found out he jumped up and down cheering because he was so excited to be like Michael Vey. Next, this boy begged his mom if he could text all his friends because they would be so jealous to know that he actually had Tourette’s. The doctor who was trying to deliver a soft, gentle approach was shocked by this reaction because he had never heard of Michael Vey. Evan said a kid trick-or-treating showed up at his house wearing normal clothes, he inquired who are you suppose to be. The kid says, I’m Michael Vey. So, even though I don’t love the books, because I’m not a 10-14 year old boy, that is ok because they are changing how kids may perceive themselves and helping them develop a love of reading. Kudos to you Evans!!! —————-

With all of that said, as the novel progressed I felt like the characters became more interesting and less stereotypical. I enjoyed the creative aspects of the many variations of powers derived from electricity. I liked it when Michael and Taylor were able to use her gifts to help Zeus and convert him to their cause and away from the evil Dr. Hatch. Because our whole body is run with electrical impulses there are a gamut of powers available for the electric children, like shocking people, reading minds, absorbing electricity, emotional control through images and arcing electricity. There are some scenes of violence and torture. The action moved along rather quickly and will attract many readers who don’t enjoy reading on a regular basis.

It seems to be a new theme to have an average kid and even geeks become the new hero. I wonder why authors are choosing to do this. Perhaps, it is politically correct. Or maybe, average people like me, and other readers, will relate to a regular guy as the hero. It could even be that we are in the age to aggrandize the mediocre as seen in the tv series, The Simpsons. In this case, Michael Vey, works as a hero because he is an average guy who happens to have a unique ability. I am reserving judgement if I like the “Geek-heros” in general.

I would think this book would be appropriate for about middle school readers. I have a fifth grader who wants to read it and I am letting him though I have some reservations.

Michael Vey : The Prisoner of Cell 25 was a fun read and I will probably read the next installment when it comes out. I was hoping for more from a New York Times bestselling author. Readers who liked this book might also like The Lighthouse Land by Adrian McKinty and The Magnificent 12, The Call by Michael Grant. (My personal favorite of these three was The Magnificent 12.)

2.75 out of 5 stars

– the Mother

Teen Point of View

I thought this book was a little slow to start off. I thought that the main character, Michael, having  Tourette’s was a little random. Possibly it has a reason in the next book/books.  I didn’t really like Michael or Ostin, mostly because I prefer the hero to not be a nerd or geek. I liked Taylor though. All in all the book was very interesting and fun. I suggest it for young teens.

2.5 out of 5

– the Daughter

 Michael Vey, Rise of the Elgen
by Richard Paul Evans

Spoiler Alert!

michael vey rise of elgen

Michael was born with special electrical powers—and he’s not the only one. His friend Taylor has them too, and so do other kids around the world. With Michael’s friend Ostin, a tecno-genius, they form the Electroclan, an alliance meant to protect them from a powerful group, the growing Order of Elgen, who are out to destroy them. The leader of the Elgen, Dr. Hatch, has kidnapped Michael’s mother, and time is running out. Michael must save his mother.

After narrowly escaping an Elgen trap, Ostin’s discovery of bizarre “rat fires” in South America leads the gang to the jungles of Peru, where the Electroclan meets new, powerful foes and faces their greatest challenge yet as Michael learns the extent of the Elgen’s rise in power—and the truth of their plan to “restructure” the world. (Courtesty of Goodreads)

Adult Point of View

Evans has ramped up the intensity in the sequel. It is action packed and full of scenes with rats that made me squirm. The intended audience is about 11 to 13 years old, though some of the sentences may be a bit hard for them to understand. The twist plots are predictable, however, are fine for the intended audience. There are some truly gruesome scenes with torture and (spoiler alert!……) where humans are to be fed alive to the rats who go into a feeding frenzy stripping all the flesh from living creatures. There are also deaths in the course of the book.

One thing I was happy to see is that the Michael Vey’s tourettes is no longer such a focus in the novel and recedes into the background allowing him to be a hero, though at times reluctant. This is not my favorite series, but it seems to be of high interest for reluctant readers and in particular boys. In my experience there are many books of interest for girls and not as many for boys, so it is nice to have books that young boys gobble up.

3 out of 5 stars
3 star

– the Mother

The daughter has outgrown this series and has not read it, however, the next son read it and loved it! I am sure he would rate it 5 out of 5 stars

Michael Vey, Battle of the Ampere
by Richard Paul Evans

Spoiler Alert!

Picture 88

Michael, Taylor, Ostin and the rest of the Electroclan have destroyed the largest of the Elgen Starxource plants, but now they’re on the run. The Elgen have teamed up with the Peruvian army to capture them, and only Michael remains free. With his friends due to stand trial for terrorism—a charge that may carry the death penalty—Michael will need all his wits and his abilities if he’s to save them.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Dr. Hatch and his loyal Electric Children have seized control of the E.S. Ampere—the super yacht the Elgen use as their headquarters. With the seven ships of the Elgen fleet now under his control, Hatch heads back to Peru to gather his army and begin his quest for global domination.

Michael must free his friends then find a way to stop Hatch, but Hatch knows Michael and the Electroclan are coming. And he’s ready for them. Can the Electroclan win the battle of the Ampere? Or has Michael’s luck finally run out?  (Courtesy of Amazon)

Adult Point of View

This installment quickly picks up where the last cliff hanger ended, whisking Michael, and Tessa, out of the Amazon and into peril to protect and save the Electroclan. It seems like the intensity of the violence is growing with each installment in the series. I didn’t actually count, but it seems like there are even more deaths and again more torture. This is still not my favorite series! I keep reading it to preview it for my son who wants to read it and so we can talk about things if he has concerns or problems understanding the novel.

Battle of the Ampere enters a new level of dark when (remember spoiler alert!) a main character within the Electroclan dies. (I have resisted naming the character, but it is NOT Michael!) Usually in children’s series it seems the main characters are impervious to death and I think this will probably upset some readers. Harry Potter is another series that crosses that line when beloved main characters die. Perhaps this is a new trend in children’s books where there will be more realism, that death can touch anyone. I’m not sure that I don’t prefer the impervious main characters that will pull through anything no matter what, for young readers.

To answer the question in the title. There is not exactly a cliff hanger, however, things are not resolved and we are thrown enough information to know where the next novel is heading and Michael Vey and his friends will have new adventures trying to stop Dr. Hatch and his plans for world domination. (Perhaps, a sound track with evil chuckling should play anytime someone says “world domination” out loud.)

This novel persists in the flaws of predictable twists and a repetition of the same scene played out again and again. I keep reminding myself it was not written for me, but for young (boy) readers. Thankfully the romance is not too intense for boys. I do like that Taylor is a strong female character, and has natural flaws of jealously and insecurities that she works through. Michael’s character has improved since the first novel as well as his best friend, Ostin.

A reluctant 3 out of 5 stars
3 star

– the Mother

About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
This entry was posted in young adult book reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s