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The Supernaturalist

Review

The Supernaturalist

Satellite City is a world built on technology and dark secrets. Cosmo Hill is one of those dark secrets, as well as hundreds of other boys who live at the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys. Cosmo was sent to live at the Institute when he was found abandoned as a baby. He was considered a "no-sponsor" when his natural parents couldn't be traced by the public-record DNA files, and no one came to claim him. Fourteen years later, Cosmo continues to be treated as a prisoner in the orphanage and only two choices remain: escape or die. The choice Cosmo has made is to escape.

The orphanage is considered a prime testing ground for pharmaceutical products and the latest gadgets in entertainment. It is not fun and games for the children though, where the life expectancy is fifteen. This is due either to the dangerous conditions or the equally dangerous guards, such as Marshall Redwood. Redwood is an evil man who, for some reason, abuses the boys. During a routine transfer, there is a technological accident and Cosmo and his hysterical traveling buddy Ziplock are able to escape, but Redwood is in hot pursuit. It seems they will have freedom but at the cost of their lives.

Cosmo accidentally plunges to an almost certain death when Ziplock falls off the edge of a rooftop, bringing Cosmo down with him onto another building. The boys are then accidentally zapped by when Ziplock's metal cuff is placed on a nearby generator. It is certain that Cosmo is beyond help now. If it wasn't for an infant-sized blue creature climbing on his chest and a motley crew of kids showing up in the nick of time to destroy the creature, Cosmo would have lost his life. Instead, the rescuers take Cosmo to their warehouse on Abracadabra Street, where they literally patch him up.

Cosmo wakes up in the warehouse a couple of days later and finds out that his heroes are named Stefan, Mona and Ditto. The trio tells him that Ziplock didn't survive and that he is lucky to be alive due to the quick smarts of Ditto and some hi-tech medical supplies. Cosmo is baffled that a little boy could have saved him, but Mona tells Cosmo that Ditto is a Bartoli baby and is in fact twenty-eight years old. Ditto was part of genetic experiments that were conducted by Dr. Ferdinand Bartoli. The experiments went wrong, leading to the common result of arrested physical development.

When Cosmo helps save Mona's life later that day and relays the events that led up to his rescue, he is given an introduction into the trio's past. Stefan Bashkir, a second-generation Satellite City native of Russian descent, is the leader. Lucien Bonn, a.k.a. Ditto, is a medic, and Mona Vasquez is the carekeeper of transport. Together they make up the Supernaturalists and are orphans as well. They spot and destroy the blue creatures known as Parasites before the creatures themselves try to destroy human life.

Cosmo is considered to be a Spotter because he, like the Supernaturalists, was able to see the Parasite due to a near-death experience. Cosmo is considered to be a rarity and is invited to stay with the Supernaturalists or go back to the Clarissa Frayne Institute. Cosmo chooses to stay with the Supernaturalists and lead an action-packed and dangerous life. He is quickly trained by Mona before going out on his first official rescue mission. It is a nasty building collision that has alerted many Parasites as well as some dirty lawyers bent on covering up accident scenes.

After the Supernaturalists do what they can and go back to the warehouse, Mona and Cosmo travel down to Booshka to get a car part for the Pigmobile. Booshka is where Mona used to live before Stefan saved her and got her out of the Sweethearts gang. They go see a mechanic named Jean-Pierre, who can get anyone what they need. Cosmo observes a Parasite curiously looking at him from its perch on the mechanic's shoulder. Instead of Mona doing anything about the creature, she takes the frantic boy away from the garage and explains to Cosmo that Jean-Pierre is sick and the Parasites have gradually shown up at any time, even at the hint of death.

Cosmo notices that there seems to be quite a few Parasites surveying the growing crowds that come out to Booshka when the sun starts to go down. As the two teens start to go toward the blockade at the end of Booshka, Miguel, the leader of the Sweethearts, calls out to Mona from a railing above them. He says that the gang is going to unveil the Myishi Z-twelve that night in a drag racing competition between their rival gangs. The Myishi Z-twelve is what Stefan gave the Sweethearts as Mona's ticket out of the gang. As they leave they notice the Parasites peering at them from above the gang and realize that it's going to be another busy night for the Supernaturalists.

That night is unlike anything Cosmo has ever experienced. The spectacle is one made up of loud noise and flashy cars and gangs. The main rival gang, the Bulldogs, possesses canine qualities and hi-tech body art. The gangs are bowled over by the Myishi Z-twelve and are having too much fun, especially when the Bulldogs capture Mona and Ditto and have her race in the tricked-out car. Unbeknownst to the gangs and the Supernaturalists is just how deadly this night turns out to be.

When lawyers and paralegals from the Myishi Corporation swoop down upon the old Krom factory where the competition is being held, mayhem and chaos ensue. Mona and Ditto manage to escape, but Stefan and Cosmo are captured. The two guys are taken to the Myishi Tower where they must speak with the president. Stefan is shocked when the president of Myishi is his old family friend and mentor, Professor Faustino. She tells them about research on the Parasites that yield some shocking revelations.

The extinction of the Parasites and the existence of Satellite City rest on the shoulders of the Supernaturalists. Then, as their adventure continues, more shocking and hideous secrets come to light --- secrets that may threaten the future of the Supernaturalists and could even could break their friendship apart. The one question, though, is if Cosmo will ever be able to lead any kind of normal life.

THE SUPERNATURALIST can be considered science fiction, or a warning about what the future could be like in the next twenty-five, fifty years. Undoubtedly, THE SUPERNATURALIST is a story about friendship and its strength in the face of danger. It will keep you on the edge of your seat and want to make you read it again. As a fellow book lover, I guarantee it.

Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle on April 26, 2004

The Supernaturalist
by Eoin Colfer

  • Publication Date: April 26, 2004
  • Hardcover: 265 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • ISBN-10: 0786851481
  • ISBN-13: 9780786851485