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 David, JCoSS

maladaptedRichard Kurti’s stunningly good new novel reflects on many aspects of our modern world, including terrorism, struggles for justice and scientific breakthroughs, and uses examples of them in a different world.

Maladapted is a science fiction novel about a group of people who experiment with DNA and change humans to make them immune to illnesses and enhance their survival ability. When college student Cillian learns of a hidden hospital building from his father’s last words, he discovers the true extent of the biological experiments that are taking place. Cillian meets Tess, a trained member of a terrorist organisation who are against the interference with human DNA. The pair manage to uncover the truth about what’s really going on, using their skills, intelligence and courage. The deep and engrossing storylines could keep any sci-fi-thriller fan amused for ages.

The ending caught me off guard when I was reading. This was because I didn’t expect it to end. The story seemed as if it just had to carry on, but it was probably because I was enjoying it too much.

Maladapted is flooded with interesting descriptions of technology from the future, with screens on windows, motorbikes and just about anything. These will fascinate many smartphone users reading this book.

The story contains some violence and graphic description, and also some intense and complicated plot points. I recommend that you read this if you are 12 years or older. The story does tend to use words that haven’t been explained to you yet, as if you know what they mean perfectly well. This often occurs in a lot of science fiction books, though. This is a wonderful book and I would recommend it to anyone looking for entertainment.


MALADAPTED – Review by Viraj, Queen Elizabeth’s School

maladaptedMaladapted is a thrilling science fiction novel written by BAFTA-nominated screenwriter Richard Kurti and is set in a dystopian future in an isolated city. Cillian is a ordinary boy, but has secret powers. In a deadly terrorist attack in the city, Cillian’s father is killed, but, surprisingly, Cillian makes it out unscathed. Tess works for those terrorists, but finds her inner conscience towards the end and realises all the harm she has caused. Cillian later in the book discovers he was made by a secretive organisation called P8. As he find out reality, he comes across Tess, who herself is on a secret mission. But what is it? And what happens to them both? Maladapted answers these questions in thorough detail.

A book full of suspense, it provides an insight into what the future may look and the dangers people face of messing with the genome. Maladapted was an excellent book in terms of plotline and character development. Every new chapter brought a whole new perspective to the situation, and was jam-packed with new ideas and emotions. I would definitely recommend Maladapted to anyone looking for a book with the right balance between sci-fi and action. We go on a roller-coaster ride in the book, learning more and more about the character. Richard Kurti’s tone has made the book seem so relatable to projects going on currently with genetics and cloning. I would definitely give this book a 5 out of 5, as I was never able to put it down. Overall, Maladapted is thoroughly a great book and I think that it is a great book for teenagers who want to enter the world of science in a fiction book.

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.

MALADAPTED – Review by Eva, JCoSS

maladaptedThis book was very chilling to read but still really gripping. It is set in a dystopian future which isn’t too dissimilar to our own. The story follows Cillian as he survives a metro terrorist attack that kills his father, and discovers things he had never known before. Revelation, a terrorist group responsible for the attack, is after him and he has to uncover the truth about himself.

This book was very well-written and had a lot of twists in the plot that kept me on the edge of my seat. I particularly liked the character of Tess, who is a member of the terrorist group, but is starting to have doubts about the cause.

If you like dystopian or science fiction, or if you enjoyed the Hunger Games or the Divergent series, this book is for you.

Review: Railhead, by Saifullah at Queen Elizabeth’s School

Railhead“Too complex for its own good”

An interesting new universe filled with new and original characters makes for an interesting read, but gets caught up in its own detailed universe and is let down by a poor plot.

I’ll admit it. I only read this book because I had to. I was given a selection of books to read in our library and I chose the most ‘sci-fi’ looking book available to suit my own taste in fiction. With just a quick glance at the blurb and a look at the front cover, I wasn’t expecting much when I first opened the book. Having said that, I was actually quite surprised when I started to read. It surpassed my original expectations, however, this doesn’t say much. It was certainly original, with a new universe unlike anything I have encountered before in the science fiction books or films that I have seen. I suppose this is rather common with all sci-fi media. Since the author knows he has to appeal to readers with a weird and exotic taste, he naturally creates a book or film with a weird and exotic plot. This is of course highly risky, as it can either prove to be highly popular with your readers, or can alienate them through a plot too complex and strange to fully comprehend. Unfortunately, this proved to be the latter in my opinion although as I have mentioned above, this may prove to be the opposite for other readers.

The story follows the adventures of Zen Starling, a small time thief and ‘Railhead’ in a strange world with sentient trains capable of crossing galaxies and run by omniscient sets of data called ‘Guardians’. After meeting the sentient robot Nova and an enigmatic fugitive called Raven, Zen’s life is changed for ever. It sounds quite exciting and straightforward, doesn’t it? However, I found this book to be the complete opposite. For one thing, I didn’t know what the term ‘Railhead’ meant until I was almost halfway through the book. Pretty disappointing considering the fact that it is an integral feature in the plot and comes up about more times than the words ‘I am Groot’ in a Marvel comic featuring everyone’s favourite Guardian. Also, the book never fully explains how a bunch of computer programmes managed to take over Earth and become the rulers of a Galactic empire (think Star Wars, without the excitement). During the book, they have a ‘secret’ about this world that they are hiding from the people that live in it. I am not going to spoil it for you, mainly because you never find out what it is! The book was about as hard to follow as the principles of quantum mechanics for a beginner and this severely impacted my overall view of the book.

On the other hand, I found myself intrigued as I made way through the book, mainly due to the bare story, which was quite good had it not been hidden under a tangled mess of ‘Guardians’, ‘Railheads’, ‘Hive Monks’ and other strange creatures in a strange universe. Was it a page turner? No. Did it make me want to read on? Yes, at times. I could have endured the book’s plot, littered with the holes and unknown variables that I have mentioned above. However, the worst disappointment came at the end, with an attempted cliff hanger attached to several loose strings. I was so confused, that I actually researched as to whether there was a sequel or not, to which I found there was none. This was the final straw, after which I gladly returned the book and walked away from it with no regrets. In my opinion, it had little ‘unputdownability’, however, due to the highly subjective nature of science fiction, I can understand why other readers may love it.

The greatest disappointment wasn’t the book itself, but rather how the book had had such great potential that was let down by its plot and terrible ending.

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.