Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Uncaged - Singular Menace #1 (John Sandford & Michele Cook)

Uncaged is the first book of the Singular Menace Trilogy. Written by John Sandford and his wife Michele Cook, this is intended to young adult readers. Looking back, I think there has been big changes to young adult books. What first came into my mind was Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, which almost had no violence. But when I thought about it, before I was 12, I had already read Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries and enjoyed them very much. Nowadays, books for young adults are mostly about magic and dragons, which I avoid. Uncaged offers action and violence. There is a waterboarding torture scene and a guy whose face gets ripped. The Singular laboratory itself uses ‘lab human’, and although it sounds scary, Doctor Who – TV series made for universal audience, including children- also offers the same thing when Cybermen convert human into robot.

The main character in Uncaged was a sixteen year-old red-haired girl, Shay Remby, a foster kid who left home to Hollywood to look for her brother, Odin. 17 year-old Odin, an autistic genius, was wanted by Singular Corporation, a big biomedical research lab, after he and his group broke into their laboratory in Eugene, Oregon. Odin took away several flash drives contained proofs of how the lab abused animals and human beings. He also took a lab dog: a dog who had been turned into a kind of robo-dog. This dog’s brain should be charged periodically, like a cell phone.

In Hollywood, Shay lived in a ‘hotel’ for homeless kids. The hotel was belonged to and managed by Twist, an artist. Shay got a room and worked for Twist: painting posters and climbing high buildings. Her latest foster parents taught her how to climb.

Singular recruited war victims, those who had lost their limbs and changed them into bionic men à think of Six Million Dollar Man or Bionic Woman. Not all Singular guards knew about the illegal activity of their bosses. Their researcher, ex-Afghanistan soldier named West, secretly helped Shay after finding out that Singular had kidnapped Odin.

Book one ended after Shay rescued Odin from Singular prison in Sacramento and hunted by the authorities as terrorists. Shay and her friends also took away an Asian woman, another lab human from Singular. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.