Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review: Archvillain by Barry Lyga

Summary: Kyle Camden knows exactly where he was the night Mighty Mike arrived: Sneaking around the fallow field behind Bouring Middle School (motto: "The U Makes It Exciting!"), running the electrical cabling that would allow him to dump the contents of the old water tower on the visiting football team during the next day's game.
Which is why he couldn't tell anyone where he was.

Or what he saw.

Those lights everyone saw in the sky weren't tiny meteors burning up in the atmosphere. They were some kind of strange, supercooled plasma that bathed the entire field - including Kyle - in alien energies, energies that boosted Kyle's intellect and gave him superpowers.

Unfortunately, the energies also brought Mighty Mike to earth.

Kyle is the only one who knows that Mighty Mike is an alien. Everyone else thinks that Mike is just some kid who stumbled into the field, got beefed up on meteor juice, lost his memory, and decided to start rescuing kittens from trees. But Kyle knows the truth. And he'll do anything in his power to stop Mighty Mike, even if it means being an Archvillain! (from

Review: This book was a bit of a departure for me, but a fun book all the same. I've come to find that middle grade books that are geared towards boys highly amuse me. Perhaps because I still have the mentality of a 12 year old boy. That point in time when you basically can be a total self-absorbed idiot, who laughs at stupid jokes and does things that can only be deemed reckless has always been one I look back on fondly. Despite the fact that I never was, in fact, a 12 year old boy.

The main charecter is Kyle, an already super-smart super-prankster when he is exposed to a plasma curtain that not only enhanced his brain power, but also gave his super powers like flight andd super-strength. This should really only make hi more popular in the boring town of Bouring. Unfortunately he wasn't the only one there when the "stars fell"- from the plasma rose Mighty Mike, with all of Kyle's super powers (and then some), but none of the intellect. Pretty soon Kyle see's himself go from hero to villain as far as Bouring is concerned. They are all wrong though- only Kyle knows who and what Mike really is- and being the Villain might be the only way to save everyone.

Kyle is a great charecter. He's arrogant and conceited and clearly believes himself to be the superior of everyone in Bouring. Although having a main chareceter who is pretty obnoxious could be a turn-off, but Kyle is written in a way that you really just find him humorous. The poor kid is smarter then everyone, has super-powers, but still can't see past himself to get anything right. I laughed every time he called the Guidence Counselor his Nemesis (to her face), or zapped his parents brains so they would agree with him (leaving them with a tick and stutter). I especially loved his interactions with Erasmus, a AI fashion from an IPOD and whose personality is taken from video's of Kyle. Eveyrthing he hates about Erasmus are things he fails to see in himself.

His vandetta against Mighty Mike starts out pretty superficially and is born of jealousy, and we really don't move much past that in this book. Mike manages to bumble his way into the saving the day again and again, which Kyle overthinks and fails repeatedly- this is where their main conflict resides. Mike believes he must stop Kyle's Archvillain, while Kyle is positive Mike is an alien that must be taken care of. Despite teh fact that there isn't any huge event to overcome, or final battle to decide, this book does set a pretty great foundation for future books (this is book 1 of a series).

I was thoroughly amused throughout the entire story and I will definitly be not only waiting (not-so) patiently for book 2, but also picking up a few more Barry Lyga books.

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