In 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.