Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Compound by S.A. Bodeen

The premise of this book is fantastic. An ultra-rich man builds a luxurious underground bunker to save his family in the event of nuclear war. When Eli is 9, he and his parents and two sisters enter the bunker in a state of panic. Eli's twin brother, Eddy, is locked out, along with their grandmother. The door will not re-open for 15 years.

The story is set 6 years after they entered the compound. There are a great many plot holes, but I did keep turning the pages to find out what would happen. It soon becomes clear that the father is a psychopath of the mad scientist sort, an evil genius. In fact, this book reminded me very much of Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks. (But I liked that one better.)

Things that made me go hmmm: Why would there be two giant ovens in the kitchen? Perhaps only to bring Hansel & Gretel to mind - and to remind us that a psychopath is in charge. Grain seems to be the only food supply for the cows; this isn't a diet they can survive on for long, certainly not for 15 years. How can it be that Eli has not set foot in his father's office in 6 years? And then when he does, the reason is for help with algebra? He hasn't needed any help before now? Pitiful plot device. And how many people are they planning to fit into a helicopter? I won't go on.

Readers who enjoy James Bond-style outlandishness combined with spying (well, snooping) and some psychological suspense will probably forgive the details that don't add up.

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