Ah, is there anything better than reading a good series for the first time? I submit that there is not, at least in the book world. I’d always resisted picking up the Michael Vey series because I used to pride myself on being a holdout – and the Michael Vey books have been very popular at my library. Plus I’ve read some of Richard Paul Evans’ adult books and didn’t think it would be very good. I was mostly wrong.
Hmm, how to summarize a seven book series in a few sentences… I’ve noticed that since Harry Potter came out all YA epic book series tend to follow the same basic format: seemingly normal kid discovers/is told he has special powers, is whisked away from his home, receives training in his special powers so that he can fight the bad guys, and then fights the bad guy at the end of every book. Michael Vey followed this format slightly. Michael always knew that he was different – that he was electric (yes, we all are technically, but Michael is extra electric. He can channel his electricity and “pulse” people). But Michael is good, he’s on the good guys’ side, not that he really knows there even is a good guys’ side until the second book. There was no formal training in his powers in every book, he just picked stuff up while he was fighting the bad guys, the Elgen, led by an evil psychotic man named James Hatch. Yes, Hatch = Voldemort in this series. Michael and his almost-unwieldy group of friends (some electric, some normal, called the Electroclan) take on the Elgen, going on an impossible almost-suicide mission in pretty much every book. There are tragedies and triumphs along the way and surprisingly Michael isn’t even in much of the last book.
There is a fine line authors walk in epic adventure books like these: how impossible should the odds be? These books make that line almost nonexistent, which, if I’m honest, bothered me a bit. I’d be like “Yay! Things are going well! They’re going to make it all intact!” and then all of a sudden Richard Paul Evans would reveal something even more dastardly about the Elgen and I’d lose all hope for Michael and the Electroclan. Then I’d take a step back from the intense story and be like “Anessa, there’s three more books, somebody has to survive this fight.” and then I’d be alright and get it finished. To me, there were a lot of unanswered questions all throughout the books. Every book answered questions, sure, but it’s like “wait, why didn’t he just do this? That would have made life easier for everybody.” But it was a book and sometimes logical things don’t happen in books. Some of the characters were also underdeveloped, in my eyes. Some of them, like Michael’s friend Jack, progressed quite a ways from the first book to the last book. Hatch was always evil and after a while it actually got kind of tedious. Michael was always heroic and although parts of the books are written from his point of view, you know that Michael’s always going to do the right, heroic thing. Also, Hatch just kept pulling electric kids out of thin air. I lost count. There were supposed to be 17 electric children and by book seven I was finally like “ok, have we met everybody yet?” I actually counted all the electric children in the handy dandy “who’s who” guide in the front of the book. Overall, these were a fun, exciting read. I read the last three books in a day (my eyes were NOT happy with me the next morning). I’d recommend them for teenagers.
Violence. All the violence. Most instigated by Hatch, who has a penchant for torture, which is described in just enough detail to make me slightly uncomfortable. The consequences of all the violence is also described though, the mental anguish it brings on people and how they are broken by it, so that’s good. Better than The Hunger Games in my opinion. Still, there’s a pretty high body count. Michael gets a girlfriend and they kiss a lot, but other than that there’s not much romance and no sex. No bad language.
Full disclosure: clicking the picture above will take you to the Amazon page for the books where you can read more reviews and purchase the series if you’d like. I receive a percentage of the sale, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to pay more for the book than you normally would. It just helps me out. Thanks!