Saturday 19 August 2023

Criminal Destiny - Gordon Korman - Masterminds 2

Criminal Destiny
Masterminds 2
Gordon Korman
Balzer & Bray
ISBN 9781443428774
eISBN 9781443428781

Mid-summer 2 years ago, in the summer of 2022, Korman published his 100th book. Yes you read that correctly, his hundredth book. My introduction to Korman’s works was the 39 Clues back in 2009. Since then I have read over 30 of his books. Barely a drop in the buck, but with each one I read I am entertained and often challenged. My son often reads these books to me or with me. I picked up this to read on summer break. The first book in this series really got me thinking after reading it I asking my youngest two children and a couple of their friends what there would do if they found out what the kids in this story did. They all reacted differently, and they all want to read the book. And this second book takes it to a whole new level.

My son and I started reading Gordon Korman books together a few years ago, when he was given one as an end of year gift by his teacher. She gave the whole class the same Scholastic edition and wrote a note to each student in their copy of the book. Prior to that I had a read a few of his contributions to the 39 Clues series and had enjoyed them. My son and I have mostly been reading his more recent titles. I do not read what Korman’s books are about anymore. Nw I am alternating between his oldest I have not read and the current releases. I have read about 30 over the last year. Even though I knew a lot from the first volume in this series this one still took me completely by surprise. The series consists of:

Masterminds Criminal Destiny

In Canada the first was published by Scholastic, in the US from Harper Collins and is now in reprint under the Balzer + Bray imprint.

The description of this volume states:

“The clones of Project Osiris are free—but they’re being hunted...

After their narrow escape from their “perfect” hometown, Eli, Tori, Amber, and Malik are finally in the real world and determined to expose the leaders of Serenity. They decide to track down Tamara Dunleavy, the mysterious billionaire and founder of Project Osiris. Evading capture by breaking laws and sneaking into houses, hotels, buses, and cars—are they becoming the criminals they were destined to be?

What they discover will change everything, leading them straight into the Plastic Works and the heart of the experiment, in order to uncover the deadly criminals they’re cloned from—and any evidence that will convince the outside world to believe the truth.

But the outside world isn’t exactly what they expected—strangers aren’t just unfriendly, they’re dangerous. And the wrong move could send them right back into the arms of Dr. Hammerstrom—and trapped in Serenity for good.

On a breakneck journey from Jackson Hole to a maximum security prison—Eli, Tori, Amber, and Malik will stop at nothing to take Project Osiris down.”

Like many of Korman’s other books this one is written in a series of first person narratives. Each chapter title is the name of the narrator for that chapter. There are a couple of other authors I read who use this method, and Korman is one of the masters. The narrators are:

Eli Frieden - 8
Amber Laska - 5
Malik Bruder - 7
Hector Amani - 2
Tori Pritel - 6

The number beside their name is the number of chapters they narrated. Eli’s father was the brains behind and head of the experiment so he continues to dominate the narrative. But some of them are much closer in count in this volume compared to the first. 

This book a fascinating read! The subject tackled and how Korman goes about it is magnificently executed. The characters as is often the case with Korman are wonderfully written. The story is very intriguing. I could literally not put this book down. I finished it in 2 sessions over two days. I had figured out a good chunk of the plot before it was revealed. Yet, this time there was a twist that I just did not see coming. I greatly enjoyed watching the children try to figure out a plan to prove that they are clones and survive in a world they were never prepared for.   

This story is darker than may of Korman’s offerings. The pace is excellent. The characters are masterfully written. This is a story young readers will latch onto and be desperate to know what happens next! Every child from 9-15 that I have asked what they would do if they found out what the kids in this series did have wanted to read the story. It is such an intriguing premise and Korman continues to execute it in a most excellent manner!  

Books by Gordon Korman:
MacDonald Hall Series:
The Wizzle War (1982)
         (formerly The War With Mr. Wizzle)
The Zucchini Warriors (1988)
Light’s Camera, Disaster (1991)
          (aka Macdonald Hall Goes Hollywood)
The Jokes on Us (1995)
          (formerly Something Fishy at Macdonald Hall)

Bugs Potter Series:

Jeremy Bloom Series:
The D−Poems of Jeremy Bloom (1992)
The Last-Place Sports Poems of Jeremy Bloom (1996)

Monday Night Football Series:
The Quarterback Exchange (1997)
Running Back Conversion (1997)
Super Bowl Switch (1997)
Heavy Artillery (1997)
Ultimate Scoring Machine (1998)
NFL Rules! Bloopers, Pranks, Upsets, and Touchdowns (1998)

Masterminds Series:
Masterminds (2015)
Masterminds: Payback (2017)

Slapshots Series:
The Stars From Mars (1999)
All-Mars All-Stars/The Dream Team (1999)
The Face-off Phony (2000)
Cup Crazy (2000)
Ouch I got slapped (2023)
4-in-1 Slapshots: The Complete Collection (2008)

Nose Pickers Series:
Nose Pickers from Outer Space! (1999)
Planet of the Nose Pickers (2000)
Your Mummy Is a Nose Picker (2000)
Invasion of the Nose Pickers (2001)
4-in-1 The Ultimate Nose-Picker Collection (2006)

Island Series:
Shipwreck (2001)
Survival (2001)
Escape (2001)
3-in-1 Island Trilogy Collection (2006)

Son of the Mob 2: Hollywood Hustle (2004)

Everest Series:
The Contest (2002)
The Climb (2002)
The Summit (2002)
Everest Trilogy Box Set (2002)

Dive Series:
The Discovery (2003)
The Deep (2003)
The Danger (2003)

On the Run Series:
Now You See Them, Now You Don't (2005)
The Stowaway Solution (2005)
Public Enemies (2005)
Hunting the Hunter (2006)

Kidnapped Series:
The Search (2006)
The Rescue (2006)

Swindle Series:
Swindle (2008)
Zoobreak (2009)
Framed (2010)
Showoff (2012)
Hideout (2013)
Jackpot (2014)
Unleashed (2015)
Jingle (2016)

Titanic Series:
Unsinkable (2011)
Collision Course (2011)
S.O.S (2011)

The 39 Clues Series:
Vespers Rising (2011)
The Medusa Plot (2011)
Flashpoint (2014)

Hypnotists Series:
The Hypnotists (2013)
Memory Maze (2014)
The Dragonfly Effect (2015)

Ungifted Series:
Ungifted (2012)
Supergifted (2018)

Slacker Series:
Slacker (2016)
Level 13 (2019)

Non Series Books:
Radio 5th Grade (1989)
Losing Joe's Place (1990)
The Twinkie Squad (1992)
The Toilet Paper Tigers (1993)
Why Did the Underwear Cross the Road (1994)
The Chicken Doesn't Skate (1996)
No More Dead Dogs (2000)
Maxx Comedy: The Funniest Kid in America (2003)
Jake, Reinvented (2003)
Born To Rock (2006)
Schooled (2007)
Pop (2009)
Slacker (2016)
Restart (2017)
Notorious (2019)
War Stories (2020)
Game On (contains The Chicken Doesn’t Skate and The Toilet Paper Tigers (2021)
Unplugged (2021)
Linked (2021)
The Fort (2022)

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