Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Plot Summary:
Six is different then the rest of the agents in The Deck. Not only is he super strong, he can heal faster than the average human, he has perfect vision, and he is lethal. More importantly, Six is only sixteen years old. What most people don't know about six, is that he was the product of an illegal experiment at the Lab, which burned down sixteen years ago. Furthermore, if anyone at the Deck found out that he isn't a true human being, he could be hunted and destroyed. In the world that Six lives in, two major corporations have overrun the government and everyone is under the every watchful eye of ChaoSonic. In other words, ChaoSonic requires every citizen to have an assigned ChaoSonic ID, which means they can track every more that person makes. There is no such thing as civil liberties and those with the most money have total power over everyone. In this world, any rich man or woman can create and destroy whoever they want because they have the funds that supply ChaoSonic. For those who desire to defy ChaoSonic form their own syndicates like the Deck. The Deck is is literally a rebellion of cards: the hearts are the enforcers, the Diamonds are the negotiators, and the Jokers are the information resources. The goal of the deck is to expose and neutralize any activity that threatens the innocent and absorbs any assets belonging to those who seek to hurt humankind. In this world, humanity has become an endangered species where technology and greed threaten its very existence. For Six, his goal is to do his job, and do it flawlessly, while staying under the radar from the Lab. However, after being summoned by the King of Hearts to investigate a location that could be housing an operation that terrifies Six--the Lab is back.  Furthermore, when he meets Kyntax, Six's nightmares are about to come true.

Critical Evaluation:
In this stunning debut, Jack Heath has given teen readers an adventure of a lifetime. Not only is our hero a superhuman, he is the hunter who is being hunted. In this world is a very scary reality where no one has control over their own lives or futures. Furthermore, the idea that greed is so powerful that those who possess the money have the freedom to do whatever they want is down right scary. As for Six, all I could think of, as I was reading this, is a mixture of The Terminator and Judge Dread. For those who aren't familiar with these movies, they are old school action flicks starring two of my favorite action stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. Since he isn't a machine, or liquid metal, Six has human DNA that has been altered and mixed with specific genes that make him invincible and powerful. Furthermore, the opening Prologue, is not only creepy, but makes the reader think hard about the possibility of human experimentation. Although its never really stated that Six is a clone, but the idea of altering fetuses is not at all impossible. Clearly, Six was created to be the ultimate weapon, but, at the same time, those who "created" him, didn't count on the fact that Six is capable of thinking and feeling. Six may not be the most personable being on the planet, but he feels fear and loneliness, which convey that beneath all of the superpowers is a teen looking for his place in this world. For me, when we meet Syntak, I had this surge of hope that Six would not be alone in this world. However, I am not so sure of Syntak's motives, but I guess I will find out in the sequel, Remote Control.

Information about the Author:
According to his website, Jack Heath was born in Sydney, Australia, but moved to Canberra, Australia, until he was nine years old. He started writing his first novel when he was thirteen and earned a publishing contract when he was eighteen. His first novel, the Lab, has not only been adapted to a screenplay, hi second novel, Remote Control,  was a shortlisted sci-fi book of the year at the 2007 Aurealis Awards and, in 2009, he was named ACT Young Australian of the Year. When he was 23, he was invited to teach creative writing at the Canberra Institute of Technology and was featured at the the Australian Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo. When he is not writing or writing:
Jack is performing street magic, composing film music, teaching or lecturing at schools and festivals, or playing a variety of instruments including the piano and the bass guitar. He stoically ignores his lack of qualifications or training in any of these areas. Also, now 25, he’s working on his seventh action book and compiling a list of every book he’s ever read.

Teen Thriller, Teen Sci Fi

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to The Lab:

Awards & Recognition:
  • Positive review from Booklist
  • Positive review from the Bulletin of the Center of Children's Books
  • Postive review from School Library Journal
  • Positive review from Kirkus Review

{ 1 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. What a great review! Glad you enjoyed the book; I hope you have just as much fun with Remote Control.


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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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