“Evil Genius” by Catherine Jinks

Who doesn’t love a great anti-hero?  Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks (11 and up) introduces us to the notorious but lonely Cadel Piggott who could easily be pals with Artemis Fowl or Draco Malfoy.

At age seven child, prodigy Cadel finds himself in a shrink’s office for illegal computer hacking.  Child psychologist Thaddeus Roth privately delivers startling counsel, “Next time, don’t get caught.”

As it turns out, Thaddeus is actually an agent of Cadel’s real father,Dr. Phineas Darkkon, a brilliant criminal mastermind who’s been imprisoned for years.  Darkkon arranges to place Cadel at the secret “Axis Institute for World Domination” founded by himself and run by Thaddeus.

By age  fourteen, Cadel, along with a colorful cast of evil comic-book-like fellow student, are studying for their World Domination degree, taking classes in embezzlement, forgery, and infiltration at the institute.

Although Cadel may be intellectually advanced beyond his years, at heart he’s a lonely kid who doesn’t fit in with his peers.  When he falls for the mysterious, brilliant and beautiful Kay-Lee, he begins to question the moral implications of his nefarious studies.

But the question remains is it too late to stop his own father, Dr. Darkkon, from carrying out his evil plot?

Young comic-book fans ready for something a little more substantial will enjoy the school’s aspiring villains including one who floors foes with deadly B.O. Cadel’s moral turnabout is convincingly hampered by his difficulty recognizing appropriate outlets for rage.

Over-the-top evil fun with just enough heart to make anyone anyone root for young Cadel.

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