Thursday 23 September 2010

Half Brother - Kenneth Oppel

Half Brother
Kenneth Oppel (blog)
Harper Collins
Browse Inside
ISBN 9781554688128

I have enjoyed the 13 books by Kenneth Oppel that I read before reading this one. But I approached the premise of this one with a bit of hesitation; I should have known better. With each book of Oppel's that I read, I become more and more impressed with his skill, talent and range of creativity. Ben Tomlin is an average teenager; he struggles with some anger issues, but his parents uproot him from his home in Toronto and move him to Victoria so his father can start a new experiment.

The experiment was a little different. They were going to raise a chimpanzee as if he were part of the family. Soon Ben has a younger brother named Zan. They are going to raise him as if he is human and teach him American Sign Language. Zan is learning at an amazing speed - he is averaging two new signs a week and soon he is combining them by himself. Helping with project Zan gives Ben an idea and he starts project Jennifer. Jennifer is the girl of his dreams and he will do whatever research he needs to win her over. Soon everything starts falling in place. Things are going well with Jennifer, project Zan is getting a lot of press. But then things take a turn for the worse; Zan gets some bad press and Ben's dad seems to be giving up on the project.

Soon Ben feels like Zan is really his little brother and cannot imagine his life without him. But in science, if a project does not go well, it is sometimes terminated. Ben is now willing to risk everything for Zan whom he once resented. Told from Ben's perspective, the story is believable and incredibly addictive. I stayed up really late reading it when I should have gone to bed early. I just could not put it down. Oppel has written a story about adoption, family, relationships and coming of age. It is an amazing book.

Books by Kenneth Oppel:

Half Brother (2010)
The Devil's Cure (2000)
Dead Water Zone (1992)
The Live-Forever Machine (1990)

Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein
This Dark Endeavour (2011)
Such Wicked Intent (2012)

The Silverwing Saga
Silverwing (1997)
Sunwing (1999)
Firewing (2002)
Darkwing (2007)

Airborn Series
Airborn (2004)
Skybreaker (2005)
Starclimber (2008)

Children's Fiction:

The King's Taster (2009)
Peg and the Yeti (2004)
Peg and the Whale (2000)
Emma's Emu (1995)
Galactic Snapshots (1993)
Cosmic Snapshots (1993)
Follow That Star (1992)
Cosimo Cat (1990)
Colin's Fantastic Video Adventure (1985)

Barnes and the Brains
A Bad Case of Ghosts (1993)
A Strange Case of Magic (1994)
A Crazy Case of Robots (1994)
An Incredible Case of Dinosaurs (1994)
A Weird Case of Super-Goo (1997)
A Creepy Case of Vampires (2002)

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