young adult book reviews & more

The Lab by Jack Heath

The Lab (Lab (Mass Market))Meet Agent Six of Hearts. He’s the strongest, fastest, most clever, and most effective member of a special group of field agents working in the Deck, a vigilante organization intent on establishing justice in a dangerous and corrupt world. Six is the best of the Deck’s agents—and he’s only sixteen. What the people at the Deck don’t know, and can’t find out, is that Six is the product of a genetic experiment by the Lab to create superhumans, the very kind of thing the Deck fights to prevent. When Six is assigned to investigate the Lab, he risks exposure. If the Deck learns of his identity, he’ll likely be treated as a traitor and subsequently punished. And if the Lab discovers that Six is out and about, he knows he’ll be pursued until capture. Either way, this is going to be Six’s most dangerous mission yet.

The Lab starts with a dramatic action scene and continues to be action packed until the very last page. There are seriously very few pages in this novel that don’t include a fight scene, chase scene, or danger. All this makes for an undoubtedly exciting and edge-of-your-seat suspense filled story that is quite difficult to put down. As with many purely action novels, the book starts to break down with characterization. Protagonist Six is superhuman, and unfortunately, a cold and distant personality results from it. Six’s inability to relate to the normal humans around him makes him almost inhuman and inaccessible to the reader. Heath does attempt to develop Six’s character, but it’s a little sloppy, especially at first. Six’s questioning of this identity, origins, and their significance is awkward and out of place amidst the nearly constant danger Six is usually immersed in. Since this novel is primarily action based, this isn’t a big deal since the plot is more than enough to keep the reader interested and satisfied.

The Lab will be enjoyed by fans of other futuristic action packed novels such as Skinned by Robin Wasserman, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Unwind by Neal Shusterman. I can’t wait to check out the sure to be exciting sequel, Remote Control.

Rating: 4.0

Review copy from publisher Scholastic

1 munch(es) :

J Wiles Parker said...

I picked this up from B&N the other day and found I wasn't actually disappointed with the book like I thought I'd be. Heath does a great job of appealing to guys with this book by balancing the action with a little mystery and character development. As a Youth Services Librarian, I'm always looking for new books that I can suggest to them. Thanks for pointing this one out so I knew to try it out when I saw it.

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