So what is the mission this time? Hatch has set up base on Tuvalu and has taken it over. Tuvalu is this tiny tiny island, so it was easy to take over. But David Welch, Hatch's former wingman, was sentenced to death for failing to capture Jade Dragon but this execution was something Quentin and most of the other Glows couldn't handle. Now Welch is on the run, and more than half of Hatch's remaning Glows have been sentenced to death by rat bowl. Well, Quentin has been put in something far worse than Cell 25. So the Electroclan has decided to come to their rescue and take down the root of the Elgen. No, not Hatch, unless he ends up in the crossfire. The Joule, the Elgen's gold mine and money source. Oh yeah, and they also have to scoop up a running man.
Wow. This is a book where I could give it both 3/4 and 4/4 at once, and both numbers are a little tempting, but in the end I guess it gets a little closer to the 4/4 mark. First of all, my problems with the last Michael Vey were its turnaround that seemed too much like Evans changed his mind and the Electroclan weren't utilized and it spent a little too much of its time with the other characters rather than Michael. But trust me when I say this book is all about Michael, and through the looking glass on a major character we hated but this time get some extra colours in the painting, but doesn't paint over the painting so much it dilutes the fun of the cliffhanger we've been waiting so long for.
One thing I actually liked in the last Michael Vey was Ostin's tricky and hilarious travelogue mouth. Richard Paul Evans has done his homework and makes geography seem outrageous and something you'd never want to leave. I want a jokebook of the Electroclan's trivial conversations with doughboy Liss. Taylor has an addition to her power, and I'm interested to see where it will go in the next book. It is quite scientific and unbelievable. Maybe I could've done without the power altogether but it is also able to give readers a sense of tension and close danger.
Some of the things that tragically prevent me from giving this a perfect score is there were a few repetitive moments in the writing. Book 4 had this too, saying "What's a savant?" three times, but I still recommended it a lot. Some examples here is we hear "like a chain saw" in Michael's mind and mouth a little later, and Michael hears one guy has a fever from two different people almost at the same time. And there's this minor side story where a character breaks up with another and I felt this could've gone through several better ideas than the one Evans chose. It again felt like a change of mind. Oh, and I feel Grace has been too underutilized through this franchise. There are basically only a few short plotpoints she's had to do. But usually these flaws can be big if it takes up a lot of the book and this book manages to get past it the second it decides to ignite its thrusters and just beg me to give this a perfect score. The second half of this book is so perfect I could even say it goes a minor step above the second half of the second book, which is one of my favourite books of ALL time! If the fifth book was all the filler-up for this book, I can live with that.
The character study in this book is tremendous, especially when people are ordered to torture Quentin and they torture him the least possible despite the fact in the last book he laughed at them from his throne. I was surprised and delighted the book took this route and felt people who have lived a life of hate will delight at the twist. Trust me though. This book is pretty pretty brutal. The Glows are sentenced to death but Hatch asks for their help and in return won't make the electric rats chew on their flesh and go under their skin to avoid lava burns. The works. Oh, and the manager in charge of building a statue of Hatch that delayed was sent to the rat bowl. And by this point, these characters are so tender that if someone got hurt, my heart would race. The book stayed human, informing us of the types of meals the Electroclan have and as the pages went by, I was a little worried the book was putting too much on its shrinking plate. All of the Michael Vey books have a need-to-know feel and you occasionally get scared there aren't enough pages for each goal to be reached. And I was kind of worried Welch's rescue was going to be the only big goal of the book after the development this book gave him, because ever since the first book I've been excited for the last book, which is the next one, because I can only imagine the epic battle of all the electric children using their powers to outsmart thousands of forces. That's what teen books are made for. Thankfully, it doesn't (the stall because of Welch thing), and what's even better is it isn't as predictable as I expected, letting us know how smart Welch is but let us find out with glee how the Elgen plan to speed ahead. My favourite character Zeus also has some development, and forgive me for being a man-boy at this, but I've always enjoyed whenever his stench is brought up, because it can be funny and make you feel sorry for him and want to fling your arms around him.
But it's when the ending fight comes where, well, like I already said, it heats up hotter than this franchise has ever been, burning up almost every flaw I had with the first half of the book. I don't think many common readers will really remember those flaws by the time the end comes. One critic said you shouldn't read this book until you have the next one, which is a great idea for this franchise, I feel. Every book has a cliffhanger that gets more and more lip-chewing than the next, and this one is obviously the biggest yet. There are tragedies in this book that I know will make fans of this franchise cry out loud. I'm also really not sure at all if the last book is going to go a certain way with a character or not, and it's something I simply have to know as soon as possible. Hunt for Jade Dragon was intense and surprising but its end battle just wasn't as electrifying as I was hoping. This time, the bomb has exploded! Plus, this time, I was actually expecting less to happen and I was okay if it did happen, but when Part Eight comes into effect (this book changes parts when it changes viewpoints) I was so angry my fists were going white.
Basically, it feels tragic that I have to be a critic and not give this four stars, but a four stars comparable to the second book is how I feel about the second half of this book, which makes me almost wish I could review the two sections separately. This book has a 4.65/5 on Goodreads as I'm typing this, meaning more people have given this 5 stars than 4, and the amount of 5 stars are enough to alienate any grades lower, and I can see how that second half convinced them to give those grades. This second half still makes this Michael Vey one of the best entries yet, an emotional roller coaster of fear, resentment, and driving Hatch to the core and promising something grand in the last instalment without stalling on any action, ironically with enough action to make it one of the most exciting Michael Vey's in the series. You'll forget about any flaws by the time the last page is turned.