Book Review – Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

books, reviews

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Sometimes you pick up a book because it sounds like everything you’ve ever wanted. Sometimes you pick up a book because it’s beautiful. Sometimes it’ll be because the author is someone you’ve loved before. Sometimes it might be a title that draws you in. This time? It was length and availability. In fact, that’s happening quite a lot lately. Whichever short books are available via my library’s online catalogue are probably going to be read. This was a book I could finish in a work day and one that I didn’t imagine would require a lot of concentration. It was perfect.

This sounded like a really fun idea for a book. A child genius is recruited to a secret organisation to help save the world. The 12-year-old science prodigy must figure out how to help people and prevent the sinister Corporation from tracking her down. Oh, and that’s before we’ve even got to the question of where she came from.

I always find it tricky to review children’s books as an adult. Something that I might find too simplistic now isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the intended audience. So I try and figure out if I’d have liked this book when I was younger. I’m not sure. There’s a lot going on but I’m not sure I’d have cared about the characters enough.

There’s an awful lot happening in this book and it takes a while to explain everything. Then it moves along so quickly that you don’t really get time to digest everything. So, you never really get the chance to get to know Max or her friends. Apart from the fact that they seem a lot older than they really are. It just gets kind of irritating.

I love the idea of this book much more than the execution. It references The Big Bang Theory and they do have a lot in common. Much like that show, the book relies on familiarity to make an impact. It relies more on references and scientific theory than an engaging narrative structure.

I think it would probably be a good and enjoyable read for a lot of younger readers. It also deals with important topics like climate change (albeit in a very brief and forgettable way). Maybe it would encourage them to take more of an interest in science? However, I can’t say that I enjoyed it as much as I’d hoped. It was just a bit basic and flat.

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