Book Reviews: Masterminds Trilogy

Masterminds by Gordon Korman

Masterminds (Masterminds, #1)
by Gordon Korman
3 out of 5 stars

The town of Serenity is not as serene as it seems. Eli and his friends begin to discover that their seemingly perfect town is hiding dark secrets.

I really liked the mystery in this book, and the gradual unravelling of the secrets that the townspeople are hiding. The adventure aspects of the story are exciting and kept my attention, but sometimes felt far-fetched and unrealistic. I was rolling my eyes a couple of times.

The characters are smart and emotional, and they all have such unique personalities. I really enjoyed getting to know each of them, and seeing how their flaws and strengths push the story forward. They each react in different ways when they discover what is really going on in the town, and I can’t wait to see what further character development they might have in the rest of the series.

I usually can’t stand present tense writing. It gets on my nerves pretty quickly. However, this was well-written and consistent, so I didn’t mind it too much. And I usually hate multiple POVs between various characters; however, this was well-organized and clear, so I didn’t mind it too much. Each chapter is told from a different character’s perspective, so at least it was consistent within that POV. It bounces between five characters POVs, but each voice is clear and distinct.

I am going to continue with the trilogy since this book ends on a cliffhanger!

Criminal Destiny by Gordon Korman

Criminal Destiny (Masterminds, #2)
by Gordon Korman
3 out of 5 stars
In this second book Eli and his friends are on the run from the evil Project Osiris. They are searching for answers and wondering how they can get justice when no one will believe their story.

I liked this second book in the series! It has more action than the first book, but less mystery. The plot is always moving, but I missed the puzzle aspect of the mystery from the first book. Some of the action was unrealistic and far-fetched. They jump off buildings, highjack vehicles, and (as the cover shows) jump into raging rivers. There’s no way normal people could survive this stuff. I was rolling my eyes a couple of times.

I loved seeing how the characters react in crazy situations, and their fear that they are becoming criminals. They have no choice but to break into a house, steal food, or even steal a car if they want to escape, but they don’t feel good about it. Their criminal DNA gives them the skills to survive, but they hate the people they are becoming as they go further and further down that road.

I will be really interested to see where the moral implications of this second book take the characters in the third book. They are in pretty deep with some criminal behavior. I really hope there is a happy moral ending for them.

I loved how the characters interact with each other. Their respect and affection grows as they learn to work as a group and support each other through some sticky situations. There is some interesting character development.

This one ends on another cliffhanger, so I can’t wait to read the third book!

Payback by Gordon Korman

Payback (Masterminds, #3)
by Gordon Korman
3 out of 5 stars
Eli and his friends seem to have finally shaken off the evil Project Osiris that were hunting them down. But now that they are safe, they wonder what has happened to the other children who were left behind in the Project. They hatch a plan to rescue their friends, but their resources are limited and they have no idea where Project Osiris might be hiding.

I really enjoyed the ending of this trilogy! The whole story comes together with some great surprise twists. I loved the action and the fast pace of the plot. There’s more excellent character development for Eli and the others as they come face to face with some of their worst fears, and they finally have to answer the question, Does their DNA define who they are?

This time the plot was a little more believable with less jumping off buildings and out of cars. But still… they were constantly doing insane things that would never have worked in the real world. If you can suspend your disbelief, it’s a fun ride.

I was happy with the way the ending brought a lot of threads of the plot together, and the denouement was nicely paced. Altogether, this trilogy is an enjoyable read!

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