I saw this book in the hands of my nine year old cousin-in-law once removed, and was intrigued, but as I began reading, my intrigue evolved into boredom. Evil Genius isn’t awful… it is just bland. It doesn’t help that better books with young, male, adventurous, protagonists like Artemis Fowl and Percy Jackson were written prior to Cadel Piggot’s entrance into the young adult fiction world. Artemis is not always likable, but he has an interesting supporting cast of characters to keep one engaged. Cadel Piggot is not similarly supported.
I’m also concerned that the subject matter and casual reference to teenage sex are not proper. To me the writing style and marketing make this book appealing to the middle grade crowd (4th,5th, and 6th grades) where casual discussions of affairs have no place. I generally find that I’ve enjoyed Australia’s authors (Scott Westerfield, Garth Nix, Alison Groggan) and their approach to age appropriate materials without idealizing or presenting a false front, but some of the topics in Evil Genius are above the comprehension of 4th graders. If her intent was to write a book for older kids, then the writing is too simple.
All that taken into consideration, I didn’t hate the book. I just didn’t think it was great. Toward the end the story picked up, and if I can find a copy of the sequel severely discounted or someone begs me to read their copy, I’ll oblige. I just don’t feel compelled to go out of my way to find out more about Cadel Piggot’s metamorphosis from evil genius to good hearted protagonist. I wouldn’t recommend it, and it will be forgotten on my shelf. Weak writing, a story that has been done, and lack of engaging characters lead me to give this one a big, “meh.”