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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Uncaged (The Singular Menace) by John Sandford & Michele Cook

Shay Remby arrives in Hollywood with $58 and a handmade knife, searching for her brother, Odin.
Odin’s a brilliant hacker but a bit of a loose cannon. He and a group of radical animal-rights activists hit a Singular Corp. research lab in Eugene, Oregon. The raid was a disaster, but Odin escaped with a set of highly encrypted flash drives and a post-surgical dog.
When Shay gets a frantic 3 a.m. phone call from Odin—talking about evidence of unspeakable experiments, and a ruthless corporation, and how he must hide—she’s concerned. When she gets a menacing visit from Singular’s security team, she knows: her brother’s a dead man walking.
What Singular doesn’t know—yet—is that 16-year-old Shay is every bit as ruthless as their security force, and she will burn Singular to the ground, if that’s what it takes to save her brother

At first, this book was off-putting. It switched POV's frequently and didn't explain much about the current situation, I could definitely tell that this was an adult author trying to write a YA book. The book just continued like that and it really seemed to drag on. Still, without explaining much about the circumstances.

Eventually it seemed to settle on Shay's POV and the reader starts to get his/her balance straight. While a little unrealistic, I loved Twist and his hotel of street kids, I loved his rules and his seemingly soft spot for Shay (because she breaks a lot of his rules and he never does kick her out.) Twist's unusual occupation of statement painting and trouble making makes for a good story. Although his political statements were off-putting as well. I think John could alienate a lot of readers very quickly this way. but I think overall the transition he and the kids made from trouble makers to crime stoppers was fluid. For whatever reason the odd style of writing at the beginning, evens itself out and changes POVs less often.

Certainly the most interesting part of the book was the ending; which was calculated by the crew of teens (down to the iota of detail) and that was perhaps my favorite facet of the story (The crew's calculating nature.) My favorite character of course was Odin, the 17 soon to be 18 year old kid, whom while mildly autistic is also a computer genius. Odin reminds me a lot of myself actually, and I was proud of the moves he made and his resolution to never give up his friends despite being water boarded repeatedly by his captors. This book is definitely for the older crowd. Odin and X were the story savers from my point of view. If they hadn't been there to beef up the story (or if Odin's POV had been left out) I think Shay would have been a very flat character, and the book would have lost whatever spine it had to begin with.

This book was difficult for me to review, while the end was definitely worth it, the book was not without it's major flaws... So I lean towards three stars, but will give it four for the action and solid ending. I am, afterall, looking forward to the next installment.

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Authors
John Sandford
Michele Cook
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