Jimmy Coates: Power by Joe Craig

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Jimmy Coates: Power by Joe Craig

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: More exciting and pacy adventures for Jimmy in this 6th book about the hybrid assassin. The chase sequences continue to improve, and there's still plenty of pause for thought amidst the mayhem.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 284 Date: October 2008
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 000727730X

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Joe Craig's hybrid hero Jimmy Coates blasts back with a vengeance in his sixth novel. The opening chase scene is the sequence's best yet, I think. Yet again, our genetically engineered hero - he's only 38 percent human, in case you didn't know - is called upon to save his family, protect his country, and deal another blow to the big baddies in NR7. But this time, he has to do it all while his body is poisoned...

... cue pace, action, chase, gadgetry and mayhem.

It's a reprise of Bladerunner with echoes of the X-Men, and - so other reviews say - a seasoning of The Matrix added for good measure. And really, do you need me to say more? Jimmy is a victim of an increasingly authoritarian government, turned into an assassin by machine grafts. But he's refusing to bow to his programming and he's trying with every ounce of the superhuman strength he's been given to retain free will and fight the good fight against repression by shadowy government organisations. And if you can't get a thrilling adventure out of that, you probably shouldn't be writing books. Joe Craig, though, gives his readers more than adrenalin thrills.

Spy-come-action novels are far from my favourites in children's fiction, but I do think the Jimmy Coates books are the best of the bunch. The action is as high-octane as any junior fan could want, but underlying it are some tremendously fundamental questions about what it means to be human and the conflict between free will and determinism. So often books billed as perfect for reluctant readers are poor efforts. Children who don't like reading don't need rubbish; they need something good perhaps even more than keen readers do. And Joe Craig does press all the buttons. He has action, excitement, attractive characters, and he underpins them with some thematic depth. Hopefully, as Jimmy Coates matures, so will cohorts of otherwise reluctant readers.

Recommended for all action fans aged from about eight to twelve or thirteen.

My thanks to the nice people at Harper Collins for sending the book.

Older children might like to develop the Bladerunner theme further with Being by Kevin Brooks. We think you'll also enjoy Monster Doughnuts by Gianna Pollero and Sarah Horne.

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Buy Jimmy Coates: Power by Joe Craig at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Jimmy Coates: Power by Joe Craig at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Jimmy Coates: Power by Joe Craig at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Jimmy Coates: Power by Joe Craig at Amazon.com.


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