“Isaac Ward knows that a man should obey the law, protect his country; do what’s right. But when an improbable corpse leads to an impossible device, these duties collide head on – and only one can win.
Dreaming of changing the world for the better, Isaac takes the device for himself. This is his chance to do something. Be someone. But he has his work cut out for him. The world is a big, stubborn place, and not so easily changed – and before he can even try, he has another, far more pressing problem.
How to stay alive.
Mr. Something is a fast-moving and provocative adventure story, ranging from the towers of San Francisco to the villages of Malawi. It examines duty, significance, and one of the world’s greatest issues: the one billion human beings living – and dying – in extreme poverty.”
Kiwi author, Jay H. Baker, has tackled the superhero theme with a fresh perspective. The story goes beyond fighting criminals in one suburb, town, or even in one country, and follows Isaac’s adventure as he teams up with “sidekick” Amy to tackle one of the biggest issues in our contemporary world: poverty.
The narrative is strong, with enough suspense to keep you turning the pages, and enough depth for you to really care about the subject. It switches between the story of Isaac & Amy in their superhero adventure, and the story of Chimwala, an African woman with guts, determination and a will to make her village a better place to live. Though her story was a minor part of the narrative, I found myself looking forward more to these chapters than the main story itself. Chimwala faces challenges in health, wealth, and family, and I had huge admiration for her stubborn refusal to let anything get in her way.
Baker’s style oozes with realism (as a side note, it reminded me of Gary Paulsen’s writing style in “The Hatchet“). It is obvious that the author has put a lot of time and effort into thoroughly researching his topic. At times, I feel it is too well-explained, and would have liked more to be left to the imagination – we don’t need to be told everything – but overall, I was impressed with the quality of writing in this book.
Characters are developed well, though the sidekick (Amy) sometimes comes across as shallow, despite her strong desire to make meaningful change in the world. Baker writes appropriate dialogue with ease (I’m a little bit jealous of this) and makes them altogether believable.
This isn’t my usual read, though I have enjoyed some books in the superhero / adventure, and I am inclined to call it a book for the boys. However, it made me reflect on the state of the world, challenge me to think about what I’m doing about it, and force me to admit that I’m not doing enough. And I mean that in the most optimistic way possible – it’s a call to action.
This is a great piece of young adult fiction that I would not hesitate to recommend to the adolescent reader who feels the need to make change in the world, but doesn’t think it possible (or perhaps, for the adult reader who needs a kick in the butt). On the other hand, it’s a cool adventure story for the boys.
See the official website here: http://www.mrsomethingbook.com