Dot Robot by Jason Bradbury
|Dot Robot by Jason Bradbury|
|Genre: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Hannah Crookes|
|Summary: A fun high-tech action adventure. Fast-paced and exciting, this book details the adventures of a team of kids fighting criminals with state-of-the-art robots and gadgets.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: February 2009|
Jackson Farley rules the online computer game Whisper. He's a maths genius and dedicated gamer. So when he is contacted online by a mysterious stranger, he can't help but be intrigued. That stranger turns out to be the billionaire Devlin Lear, and he has been watching Jackson. He knows that Jackson is a computer genius and recruits him to the top secret MeX, a private defence force that operates outside of governments. Jackson and his fellow recruits, twin whizz-kids from Japan and American engineer Brooke, quickly learn to operate as a team. Despite the hundreds of miles separating them, their gadgets enable them to communicate instantly, each remotely operating a state-of-the-art flying robot wherever it is needed. Having never met any of them face-to-face, Jackson finds it difficult to know who to trust and suddenly the danger is brought closer to home when he must stop a dangerous criminal operation from gaining control and one of the team goes missing. He must stage a rescue, beat the bad guys, keep the MeX secret and remember to buy flowers for the anniversary of his mother's death.
Dot. Robot was an interesting read, but it felt a little forced. I got the impression that Jackson, who may be a gaming expert but seemed out of his depth, was only elected the leader by his team because he was the main character. The Japanese twins are supposed to be eight or nine, but act much older. They are also a boy and a girl, yet supposed to be identical. I found this a bit hard to believe. The explanations of all the gadgets also seemed a bit too extensive, but then this is a gadget book and the action breaks it up nicely. It's also only to be expected considering that the author is a presenter for The Gadget Show on channel five.
However, the good outweighs the bad in this book. The idea that the kids are playing what is essentially a video game, but it actually being real, is fun. The action is so well-written that it's easy to forget that the team aren't actually in the action themselves, but miles away in relative safety. With the only threats being miles away this book could quickly get boring, but the danger is brought much closer to home. Although some characters, including the Japanese twins, were barely characterised at all, Jackson is quite likeable, but my favourite character by far was the American Brooke. Her feisty exuberance and positivity is infectious and she alone made me think enough about the characters to care what happened to them.
I did guess who the bad guy was even before the bad stuff started happening. But knowing this didn't detract from my interest in how Jackson was going to sort out his problems. I do wish that Jackson's home life had been better resolved at the end, as a smart kid he is being bullied and this is really only partially sorted out. On the other hand, sometimes it's nice not to have everything neatly tied up, giving the end a more realistic feeling. As Jackson has gained in confidence and understanding through being a part of MeX and making new friends, I'm sure that he will be able to deal with his situation sooner or later.
If you're looking for a fun, action-packed read, Dot. Robot may be the book for you. The fast pace and exciting action scenes keep the reader's interest and there is enough suspense and puzzles to make this a thrilling read. Although some of the characterisation and writing is less than perfect, Dot. Robot has enough plot to make up for this.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
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