MALADAPTED – Review by Ivin, Queen Elizabeth’s School

maladaptedIn the book Maladapted, Richard Kurti has created a brilliant and ingenious juxtaposition between science and religion. Mr Kurti effectively narrates this action packed tale through the perfectly engineered eyes of Cillian, a gifted maths student who has an unusual, almost obsessive, skill of finding patterns all around him. However, right from the beginning Kurti plunges the main protagonist into a world of confusion, vulnerability and pain through the death of Cillian’s father in a calculated deadly terrorist attack carried out by an extremist organisation called Revelation. With the death of his father, Cillian embarks on a journey of self-discovered chasing the only lead he has: his father’s dying word ‘Gilgamesh’.

His desperate search for answers brings him closer and closer to the extremist organisation that started all his problems, the organisation that had killed his father and regards him as an abomination, not a person – not a child, not even human. Through his journey he meets Tess, an orphan who has been adopted by Revelation and who now works as their ‘assassin of peace’. It was Tess who placed the bomb who killed his father – but despite all the reasons Cillian has to hate Tess and all she stands for, they instantly become friends who heavily depend on each other to escape from the torments of their dystopian world.

Overall I really liked Mr Kurti’s book and found his fast-paced story line refreshing and compulsive. I particularly appreciate his bravery in writing about a truly fascinating conflict between the developments in science and how they react and impact on religion. Furthermore the possibility of perfectly engineered humans is excellently portrayed and the ethical and moral questions raised are, I think, vividly encompassed within Cillian’s determined yet compassionate personality, which really shows how humanity is more accurately described through the emotions and feelings that we as humans experience. I also love the strength of Tess’s and Cillian’s friendship that runs throughout the storyline, which is particularly moving because of the fact that Tess is the one responsible for Cillian’s father’s death. Finally, taking the tragic terrorist attacks that have occurred recently throughout the world but mainly in London, it makes the story more impactful on its audience, but also more relatable – particularly to older teenagers who will be able to understand and appreciate how terrorism can be solved by perseverance, friendship and love.

However, there are a few things that I think Mr Kurti could have improved on to make his novel even more captivating. Firstly I think he could have developed his characters in more depth and made their personalities more complex to make the relationship between the two characters stronger as well as creating more empathy between the characters and the reader. Secondly, I think the end of each chapter was too abrupt and detached from the overall story; each chapter lacked the flow and continuity that is vital in an action-packed novel. Kurti could have achieved this by maybe describing the setting in more detail, in particular the futuristic setting of the city. Lastly, although his use of the contrasting ideas of science and religion is genius, I think he fails to bring the two extremes to a conclusion or middle ground, as the reader is still left unclear on which character is more morally correct.

In conclusion, Maladapted is a very enjoyable, gripping read that is a must for Divergent and Jurassic Park fans. I would also recommend this book to teenagers between 11-15 who enjoy enthralling science-fiction books. Kurti’s original concept of the conflict between science and faith earns him a fantastic four out of five stars.

MALADAPTED – Review by Mark, Queen Elizabeth’s School

maladaptedMaladapted by Richard Kurti is a sci-fi set in a futuristic world with its main character Cillian, a 16-year-old maths prodigy believing he’s just an ordinary enough person. But he’s not. Caught in a horrible crash on the Metro with his father, he is the only passenger left untouched, something that should have been impossible. He wants answers but what he finds out changes everything he knew about himself.

Maladapted was a fast-paced, action packed book that at first seems strange and slow but turns into a uniquely interesting read, especially with the topics of technological adaptation and religious extremism being shown throughout. The only negative was that the ending left off with a cliffhanger and so my only question would be whether or not there will be a sequel.

MALADAPTED – Review by Kieran, Queen Elizabeth’s School

maladaptedMaladapted, a book which I recommend from now: it is a stunning and captivating read from the first page till the last. Kurti has not only given us a glimpse into the future, but instead a whole insight. The cliché of ‘never a dull moment,’ can be used to an ironically brilliant effect. From when the religion and scientific viewpoints are not even introduced, to when they are so opposed, they form a friendship, futuristic themes provide the atmosphere of suspense throughout.

I particularly enjoy how each setting is never introduced, symbolic of the fast-paced ‘organised confusion’ Kurti creates with a swirl of creativity. There is never a line where I am not whirring about the previous or possible future encounters. Deep emotion is lacking, in my opinion, but again Kurti has been the master of his own writing. He forces a side-track for one to delve into the themes and issues he portrays, not the emotions of the characters themselves.

I highly recommend this book to anyone. A spin of imagination is all the reader needs to look into any aspect of the future in Maladapted.

MALADAPTED – Review by Alexandra, Wren Academy

maladaptedMaladapted is a dystopian novel set in the future where the protagonist, Cillian, found out that he had been created by a group called P8 and that he was no more than an experiment to them. P8 wants to get rid of human beings and replace them with advanced technology to improve the race of mankind and to ensure survival through climate change. Tess, another main character, is part of Revelation, a group against P8 which wants to destroy Cillian and everyone like him. But when Tess becomes friends with CIllian, everything changes.

Maladapted is a book about what friendship can lead to, the groups in a society and beliefs. It is action-packed, full of plot twists and very enjoyable to read. I would rate this book 4 out of 5 because the different perspectives told me that everyone wanted the right thing and that there was no stereotypical “evil” character. It was also quite realistic because it is possible for something similar to happen in the near future.

I didn’t give it a 5 out of 5 because I found it hard to get in and out of it. The beginning was quite confusing and hard to get into. The end didn’t satisfy me because many things were not explained.  Overall I liked this unusual dystopian book for its message of friendship and the belief of what is right.

MALADAPTED, Review by Blessing, Copthall School

maladaptedCillian is the only survivor of a terrorist attack on a Metro train. How did he survive?

Searching for answers with the mysterious Tess, Cillian discovers that his father has links to P8, a group of scientists operating outside the laws of Foundation City. Through this story we see how science cannot only change people’s lives but the people itself. This book is a debate of the city of science Vs religion. It is set in Foundation city, a place in the future.

Cillian is one of my favourite characters, because at the beginning I was confused about how he, of many people, survived a tragic accident. When his father died in the crash he passed a word to him as a clue. The book is all around fast paced and very interesting. I enjoyed the action and chase scenes. I rate this book a 5/10 because it was well thought through and showed how science could change not just one person’s life but the whole world’s. The book helps readers to be able to compare it to the 21st century and how the world is adapting and changing.

I wouldn’t have read this book if it wasn’t for Read4Barnet because I didn’t know the author- this opportunity has made me to try out a book before I say no to it.

Review: Railhead, by Melis at Wren Academy

RailheadRailhead is set in a world of sentient, galaxy-hopping trains, daring thieves and intelligent sci-fi drones. It tells the story of Zen Starling, a young ragamuffin from “Thunder City” who steals to survive. When he and his new friend Nova are sent on an once-in-a-lifetime mission by a mysterious stranger, he jumps at the chance to go on an adventure and to meet interesting – and dangerous – new people.

The descriptions used in this book are wonderfully vivid; I felt as though when reading, I could hear and feel the sensation of travelling on the great network’s trains; the writing style was of very high quality. I really liked the character of Zen because of his admirable strength and ability to cope with the many problems the other characters in the novel throw at him. Even though do don’t usually read sci-fi stories, I enjoyed the idea of humans living in other planets, as it set a tone for intergalactic adventures.

Despite this, I found that actually getting into this book was quite difficult as the pages and pages of definitions for the confusing terms used throughout were slightly off-putting, and the plot seemed a little slow in the opening chapter.

However, I would say that whilst I didn’t fully enjoy Railhead (sci-fi is not my favourite genre), it did have a refreshingly ambitious plot, well-written and likeable characters, as well as an engaging story line, and is perfect for anyone who enjoys futuristic novels of space travel and hair-raising escapades.

Review: Railhead, by Trinity at Copthall School

RailheadAlthough this book at first may go under a dystopian genre, Philip Reeve has combined all angles of literature to create not just a brilliant dystopian book, but a futuristic, adventurous, tense, exciting and gripping novel. Usually, I’m not into dystopian novels as the thought of the future doesn’t appeal to me, so when I took this out of my library, I didn’t read it for a while. But when I did, I realised I had been missing out. ‘Railhead’ is such a unique book that even if you’re not a huge fan of dystopia, this book will be to your liking.

The novel is set in a future where the human race has left Earth and now lives in a huge variety of planets. However, humanity did not achieve settlements on planets through spaceships, but through mysterious gateways spread all across the universe. These gateways can only be accessed by specific special trains. These trains have artificial intelligence and feelings, and we later find out that such simple creations as trains play a large part in this novel. Throughout the book, I found that ‘Railhead’ is a frequently used word which refers to those who love these trains and gateways and the feeling of going through gateways.

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