Eoin Colfer is incredibly adept at world-building, especially the technology. I mean, I’m not so sure how technically feasible his worlds are, but within the confines he lays down, they usually work (with the exception of the Lost Colony, that was just out to lunch,) and they are always COOL. However, I’m not always so amazed and delighted by his characters. They have some nice quirks, but I never really feel like I know them. That, sadly, is what happened here.
Cosmo Hill is an orphan- sorry- Parentally Challenged. He’s an inmate- sorry- resident- of Clarissa Fraye School for Parentally Challenged Boys. It works on the capitalist model, which means they have to make money off of supporting a bunch of dumb boys while they learn to breath with their mouths closed. Which in turn means the boys are used as test subjects. Need to try out some perfumes? Gauge their toxicity on Parentally Challenged Boys! No one will complain except for the boys, and they’re soon beaten silent. Need to test some biological weapons? Pop over to Clairssa Fraye! They have targets in all shapes and sizes! Want to see how little your prisoners in the prison you’re going to run can survive on? Test your starvation diet on Cosmo Hill first! No government agency is going to worry if HE runs a little too close to the edge of gnawing his own fingers off for sustenance.
So yeah, morale at CFSfPCB is low. So low that when the chance to possibly-escape-but-most-likely-die comes up, Cosmo and his friend Ziploc take their chances with death. And no, it’s not a magical escape with pixies who save everyone. And yes, I teared up.
Sadly, given everything else that happened in the book, that was the last time I teared up. I mean, there was a LOT of possible mayhem and death. And my reaction to most of it was “meh, are we done yet?” But Ziploc. Ah, Ziploc. I’m possibly not remembering your name correctly, and I’m too lazy to rummage for my copy. But I remember your snarky remarks with fondness. I salute you. May you have found peace.
Notice how I’m not telling anyone else that I hope they found peace? That’s because I DON”T CARE. Yeah, I’m in a harsh mood modivated by not enough sleep, but the fact remains that I remember more of the first two chapters than I do of the rest of the middle of the book. I think there was a race? And Cosmo blew someone up with his forehead? Or maybe he was told not to blow up someone with his forehead. I remember how it ended… Mostly. Though I can’t remember who died. Did he kill the token girl? Or was it the tortured youth? I’m pretty sure the traitor/Messiah didn’t kick it. Or maybe he just transcended us all and became a parasite.
I gave it three stars out of five. The world building was shiny! I liked the moving apartments.