Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review: Subject Seven by James A. Moore

Subject Seven
by James A. Moore
Release Date: January 25, 2011
2011 Razorbill Books
Softcover Edition; 336 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-59514-304-4
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Review Copy from Penguin Canada

4 / 5 Stars

Impossibly strong, brutally violent, and smarter than his captors: Subject Seven has escaped...

Years ago, scientists began developing the ultimate military weapon: deadly sleeper assassins housed within the bodies of teenagers.  Now, Subject Seven, the dangerous alter ego living inside a fifteen-year-old boy, has escaped the lab and is on a mission.  His objective?  To seek out others like him and build an army capable of destroying their creators.

Hunter, Cody, Gene, Tina, and Kylie:  Five teenagers typical lives, until the day they each receive a call from a mysterious stranger - and learn that their destinies are intertwined.  Subject Seven holds the key that connects them all.  And a battle for their lives is just beginning.

My Thoughts
Subject Seven is James A. Moore's first foray into the young adult market and he does so with quite a bang.  Known for his horror and action novels, Mr. Moore brings his unique writing style into a clever novel that explores the concept of genetic development, in particular what can happen when scientists think they have failed, or in this case, unknowingly succeeded.

The story is told from multiple perspectives, and while this can be confusing, it is done skillfully and advances the story quite well.  I really enjoyed the different perspectives and learned a lot about the different characters because of this format.  As I followed the lives of the teenagers as they experienced weird blackouts, and woke up in dozens of strange and unfamiliar, and sometimes dangerous, situations, I was being given tantalizing little bits of information one morsel at a time.  I don't even think I realized how skillfully I was being led until about halfway through the novel when I realized who one of the characters actually was and I wondered how I missed that so easily. 

The Jekyll and Hyde personalities of the characters was really fascinating, and it was something I particularly liked.  I had to wrap my head around some of it at times, but I think having read the original book actually helped because I was least familiar with the concept.  I was wondering the entire time how Mr. Moore would handle the conflicting personalities inside one body and it was just starting to materialize when the novel ended.   I did like how the original personalities reacted fairly normally to the situations when they "woke" up from their genetic personalities though.  They were just regular frightened teenagers who had no idea what was happening to them and why.  The genetic enhanced personalities were quite amazing, but frightening, with some very brutal natures evolving from their 'Other' personalities.

The idea behind the book is quite original.  I liked how the scientists thought they had failed and wanted to destroy the batch of 'babies' they had created; what they didn't count on was human intervention, and now the 'babies' are out there.  Unfortunately, the first half of the novel was a little slow as the story was being set up, but luckily it picked up towards the end.  This novel, while very entertaining, is definitely a set-up novel for a series and quite a bit of the plot is left to be explored in further novels.  I think this is the only negative aspect to this novel as it felt imcomplete, with a lot left to be explored. 

Warning:  There is some graphic violence in this novel. 

I really enjoyed Subject Seven and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in reading science fiction, action, suspense, and mystery.  The implications to genetic manipulations should give anyone pause while reading this novel, especially as the "Others" make their appearances.  I am looking forward to seeing what happens to our heroes in the sequel when it is released.


  1. Thanks for the review Stephanie! When I found this on Goodreads I couldn't make up my mind if I wanted to read it or not. After seeing what you thought I'm leaning more toward the yes column, thanks!