Title: The Cloak Society
Author: Jeramey Kraatz
Nutshell: Alex Knight is just your average, ordinary supervillain-in-training. He knows, of course, that there are heroes to oppose him, but he has grown up believing that his parents are owed their due, that they will be better for the world if only they’re given a chance. He has also been raised in a top-secret, underground bunker, allowed topside only with permission and two adults. Talk about your controlled socialization. I’m all for homeschooling, but this is extreme.
Alex and his friends are finally given a chance to prove to the world (or at least Sterling City) that they deserve to be rulers when their parents assign them the job of stealing a valuable diamond from the bank. It seems like an easy job until the Junior Justice Rangers arrive. During the fight, Alex acts on instinct to keep one of the Rangers from being killed. That instinct causes everyone to question him, and so he begins to question himself.
Read-alikes: The Artemis Fowl books, by Eoin Colfer, or for the grown-up audience, the Reckoners series by Brandon Sanderson.
This was a fun, lighthearted way to spend an afternoon. The book was completely predictable, because I am not a ten-year-old, but still interesting enough to enjoy. All the characters were fun and interesting, and it was interesting to see the way that the author solved the plot as he went along.
The only bit I wish he had punched up more was when the characters encountered game theory. Their supervillain teacher presented them with the Prisoner’s Dilemma as an introduction to game theory, and their response to it was very telling. I was hoping that as the teacher delved into it, game theory itself would play a role in Alex’s decisions, but they simply didn’t return to it. It felt slightly like a missed opportunity, to me, although I didn’t think of it until after I had finished the book.