Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Rendering by Joel Naftali

Book Details
The Rendering by Joel Naftali
Hardcover, 288 Pages
2011, EgmontUSA
ISBN: 1606841181

Thirteen-year-old Doug narrates in a series of blog posts (many interrupted by either his best friend, smart girl Jamie, or the artificial intelligence who mothers him, the avatar) how he came to temporarily save the world and to be branded a terrorist and a murderer. He was innocently playing video games in the employee lounge of the biotechnology center where his aunt was a director when an insane genius ex-employee broke in, stole the equipment to digitize anyone and make his own biodroid army, killed Doug's aunt, and blew up the center (and soon the nearby town). Doug managed to escape, accidentally creating three super-powered creatures, and gaining a electronics-destroying superpower of his own with which to fight the evil Dr. Roach.

The Rendering is an action-packed adventure filled with advanced technology. Through blog posts, Doug tells his story. An evil genius has set him up to take the fall for the death of his aunt and the explosion that destroyed her workplace. Doug's hiding out with three genetically and technologically enhanced skunks that serve as his protectors at his aunt's request. Doug's aunt is dead, but her consciousness lives on inside the internet.

Technically speaking, the blog post format bothered me. The writing wasn't what you would expect from separate blog posts. It was more along the lines of chapters being called blog posts in order for the book to seem more modern. Doug addressed his readers as a blogger would, but the flow of the story was definitely more of a novel format.

The Rendering is almost non-stop action. Doug is constantly under attack. It's easy to follow most of the fight sequences, but occasionally the technology gets a little confusing. The book showcases a lot of extremely advanced concepts, both in biotechnology and digital technology. Even explained at their most basic levels, a lot of the concepts were beyond my comprehension. Young readers may be able to understand the ideas better than I, having been educated in a more computer oriented society.

The Rendering will be enjoyed by middle grade readers with an interest in video games and computers. Adult readers that enjoy middle grade fiction may not find it very relateable.


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