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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Battle of the Ampere by Richard Paul Evans

Battle of the Ampere is the third book in the Michael Vey series.  So this review could contain slight spoilers for the first two books, but I promise no spoilers of this volume.

You won't find any series fatigue in this third volume!  After a narrow escape from the Peruvian Elgen headquarters, the Electroclan is scattered in the jungle.  Not only do they need to continue eluding the remaining Elgen guards and Dr. Hatch, but they also have to survive a grueling trek through the rainforest.  The goal that the Electroclan teens are moving toward: destruction of The Ampere (Dr. Hatch's fancy yacht, and the headquarters of the Elgen) and, hopefully, Dr. Hatch himself.  A little bit more is asked of the reader in this book, as the main characters are split up in a few groups of 2-4 each.  They are all moving toward a rendezvous, but for the first half of the book the viewpoints alternate between a few different characters in different locations.

Another difference between Battle of the Ampere and Book #2, Rise of the Elgen:  romance.  It's still very, very chaste (I think I remember one kiss), but it is there.  Michael spends some serious jungle time with a girl who is not his girlfriend, Taylor, and both Michael and Taylor have to deal with the emotions that brings up.  (No surprise: Taylor's ability to read minds kind of helps cut through any emotional irrationality during the ensuing Discussion of Feelings.)  The first two books in this series focus entirely on action and adventure; this third book is able to include some more emotional development of the characters now that the reader is familiar with the characters' talents (powers?) and situation.  Not only is there the Discussion of Feelings between Michael and Taylor; other supporting characters also have moments of emotional vulnerability.  All of this is really well done.  The emotional growth is more often shown than told, and is sprinkled throughout the book, in between exciting action.  The reader is never left bogged down with feelings, and nothing feels superfluous.

So yes, the ACTION! ADVENTURE! continues.  The Electroclan is still always on the go, trying to take down Dr. Hatch and the Elgen.  To make things more difficult, the Peruvian government has declared them wanted criminals for their "terrorist" activities destroying the power plant.  Yikes.  To recap:  trekking through the jungle on foot.  Dr. Hatch and his private army wants their heads.  The Peruvian government wants their heads.  They must destroy The Ampere.  I wouldn't trade places with them for anything!

A bonus factor in this book series: kids with disability.  The main character, Michael, has a superability: he's literally electric.  But he's also got a disability: Tourette's.  This never ever defines him or slows him down, but it is present and occasionally Michael has to work around it.

My only gripe with Battle of the Ampere is a tiny one:  the very ending.  When I read Battle of the Ampere, I already knew that there was going to be a fourth book.  But still, can we maybe not set up the fourth book so very blatantly at the end of the third?  I listened to this on CD, and I feel like the ending period would have been better placed about 15 minutes prior to the actual end of the book.  But maybe that's just me.

Speaking of listening to it on CD... the narration was fantastic!  I reviewed Rise of the Elgen a few weeks ago, and it's the same great narrator.  He has great cadence, and I never had to fiddle with the volume button.  He kept me totally engaged.  I think the book would be great no matter how you read it, but I do give the audiobook a shiny seal of approval.


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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