Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Review: The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The Arrival of The Mysterious Men in Black

Courtesy of Bancroft Press
The Atomic Weight of Secrets or The arrival of the Mysterious Men in Black by Eden Unger Bowditch

Pages: 339, hardcover

ISBN: 9781610880022

Publisher: Bancroft Press

Release Date: March 15th 2011

Genre: Middle Grade / mystery

Source: galley from the publisher

In 1903, five truly brilliant young inventors, the children of the world's most important scientists, went about their lives and their work as they always had.

But all that changed the day the men in black arrived... (continued on the Goodreads page)
Buy it from: The Book Depository / Amazon

First things first: wow, I was really impressed with the writing. From the very first page, it lured me in. It has this mesmerizing quality that makes this book feel so magical and almost impossible to put down. The writing works well for this MG book (it's described as YA on Goodreads, but none of the characters are close to teens, and the writing is MG-y). This is the kind of book I wish I had when I was growing up. The writing falls short near the end of the book, but otherwise, is still enjoyable.

The characters feel so real. They're kid scientists with the ability to create great things. I'm sure some people would find a problem with the little insertions of each child's life, but I quite liked it. It gave me a insight as to what these kids were like before they were taken from their parents by the men in black. Sort of watching them grow up, so to say. This is especially effective for Faye, who was a horrid, spoiled brat at the beginning. I honestly thought that I was going to hate her, and I worried for a while that she'd remain that way and ruin the book. But, instead, she grew a whole lot. We saw the reasoning behind her brattiness in the first place, and we also see her learn to have friends, and to treat people like, well, people. It's quite a remarkable change, and I really applaud it.

My second favourite character was Wallace. He's the character I felt most sorry for. He has a tragic past, where his mother had passed away when he was young, and with her, all the love and affection he ever received. His father had incredibly high expectations of him, and never let him forget it. Amongst all the pressure, Wallace seemed close to cracking. His sweet, secret relationship with his teacher (don't worry, not THAT kind of relationship), Miss Brett showed just how much his mother's death had affected him, and it was a bit saddening.

My one issue is the chapter titles. There are two chapter titles for each chapter, and it doesn't really feel necessary. It feels a bit like overkill. Though, I suppose it's because I don't really care for chapter titles.

This is a great book if you want to read something mysterious, or about nerdy kids. Something like Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks.

Cover Art: 2 (one of the downsides of the book. I have no idea what's going on in the cover)
Plot: 4
Characters: 5
Writing: 4
Level of Interest: 4

Total Rating: 4/5 stars

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