Monday, October 6, 2014

Mutation is an Intense Conclusion

In Mutation, Roland Smith impressively wraps up this complex and intense series. The action takes place deep in the Amazon as our heroes attempt to find and rescue their missing parents. Meanwhile, our central sociopath - Noah Blackwood - and his crew are hunting them down. The action is intense, as the various characters race through the jungle, cross raging rivers, track dinosaurs, and get captured by people with blow guns.

Title: Mutation
Author: Roland Smith
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Series or Stand Alone: Book 4 of 4 in the Cryptids series
Content appropriate for: Grades 5-8
Format: Digital ARC provided by Scholastic via NetGalley

Three adjectives that describe this book: intense, dark, adventurous

I was most surprised and impressed with how Smith spiraled these 4 books into darker and darker territory and Mutation is certainly the darkest. Our villains think nothing of slitting throats or executing children.

Ultimately, Mutation is a fast-paced, twisty story. It also includes some interesting ethical questions in science including genetic modification, cloning, and human subjects. It may also challenge some readers with it's constant switching around among 6 or more perspectives, but for me this multi-person view was wholly appropriate since the characters were spread out throughout the jungle. As always with this series, I enjoyed following the villain's perspectives so that you could compare how each side of the chase was going.

Unfortunately, a few issues tempered my enjoyment of Mutation. A few mysteries were never explained such as who the native people are and how they became so genetically  strange. I'm also  still confused about how gender can be altered in a clone.

But overall, Mutation was a terrific ending to an outstanding upper middle grades series.

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