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Book Review – Subject Seven by James A. Moore

December 7, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Book Description:

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 16-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 leading 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 vicious, bloody battle for their lives is just beginning.

About the author:
James A. Moore has twice been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award and spent three years as an officer in the Horror Writers Association. He cut his teeth in the industry writing for Marvel Comics. This is his first novel for young adults.


Subject Seven by James A. Moore falls short of being one of the better written YA books out there, but what it has going for it is that it has a very interesting take on the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde / Incredible Hulk themes that should spark the interest of horror/violent action-loving YA readers. It starts off with a bang for one thing. The prologue just grabs your attention – we meet an unusual 10-year-old boy called Subject Seven who’s the prize guinea pig of a secret government think-tank (The Janus Project) which is developing superhuman soldiers. After being pretty much tortured his whole life (an example of one of the tests done on him was vivisection!), he breaks out by killing many of his captors (scientists/guards) in pretty gruesome ways.

Fast forward five years to the present day, the book then picks up on Subject Seven as he goes about trying to learn more about his origins while locating other teens who may be like him. This is where the plotting gets very confusing and puzzling, with each subsequent chapter taking on the point of view of a new and different character (instead of just continuing from Subject Seven’s POV). I understood that the author was trying to set things up, but it gets needlessly repetitive to have a variation of ‘new character wakes up in a strange place… rinse… repeat …’  and since the other characters (aside from Subject Seven who isn’t in a sharing mood) have no idea what’s going on – neither do we, the readers, and we’re left hanging for a majority of the book. (Spoiler)

Things only come together in the last 3/4 of the book where we finally get some much need explanations and exciting action (which, warning, does get pretty violent) as pay-off for reading through the whole thing. Mr. Moore does set things up nicely for what promises to be an adrenaline-packed sequel (Run: A Subject Seven Novel, set for release in Jan 2012), so I’m hoping that the writing gets more polished in book #2. Another thing I’m hoping – can we have better villains please? The crazy scientist wasn’t very scary at all – but the teenage soldier Rafael seemed pretty interesting in the brief instances he appeared.

IMO, Subject Seven would have been better written as a graphic novel or as a comic instead of a straight-up novel. When I was reading it, I kept on visualizing the events in the book as different editions of a comic actually – and I’ve a feeling that the quick changes in POV would have been better represented.

Subject Seven by James A. Moore (Penguin Group/Razorbill) is available on Amazon as a Kindle edition and Paperback edition.

The eBook is also available at B&N, Sony, Kobo books, Apple iBooks and directly at Penguin.Com.

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