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Archvillain (Archvillian Series #1)

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Overview


Critically acclaimed YA author Barry Lyga makes his Scholastic middle-grade debut with a superhero story turned on its head.

Kyle Camden knows exactly where he was the night Mighty Mike arrived: sneaking around the fallow field behind Bouring Middle School, preparing one of his most ingenious pranks yet.

Which is why he couldn't tell anyone where he was. Or what he saw.

Those lights everyone saw in the sky ...

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Archvillain #1

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Overview


Critically acclaimed YA author Barry Lyga makes his Scholastic middle-grade debut with a superhero story turned on its head.

Kyle Camden knows exactly where he was the night Mighty Mike arrived: sneaking around the fallow field behind Bouring Middle School, preparing one of his most ingenious pranks yet.

Which is why he couldn't tell anyone where he was. Or what he saw.

Those lights everyone saw in the sky weren't tiny meteors burning up in the atmosphere. They were some kind of strange, supercooled plasma that bathed the entire field - including Kyle - in alien energies.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Comic book fans in particular will appreciate this clever origin story, first in a new series. Twelve-year-old prankster Kyle is making mischief at the middle school football field the night a plasma storm falls to earth. After being "bathed in the energy of the storm," he gains amazing superpowers, like heightened intelligence and the ability to fly. He later learns that a boy was found after the storm. Everyone in town assumes this stranger is "a normal kid with superpowers and amnesia," anointing "Mighty Mike" a hero after he uses his powers to extinguish a fire and save kids' lives. But as his memories of the plasma storm return, jealous Kyle is suspicious of the do-gooder's motives, believing it his duty "to expose him for what he is and drive him away." Lyga (Goth Girl Rising) laces his story with ample humor, from the persnickety AI sidekick Kyle makes from his iPod to his failed Pants Laser prank. Readers will find plenty to ponder, from guessing Mike's true motivations to debating whether Kyle is a hero--or a villain in the making. Ages 9–12. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
Meet Kyle Camden, aka the Azure Avenger. Already smart and popular, Kyle comes to his super powers when he is caught in a plasma storm which gives him enhanced strength, intelligence and the ability to fly. But wait! Can a superhero exist unless he has a super nemesis? Enter Mighty Mike, another product of the plasma storm, but this one, Kyle surmises, is an alien invader. Except, according to the residents of Kyle's small town of Bouring (only the "u" separates it from Boring), the Azure Avenger is a Blue Meanie and Mighty Mike gets his own parade. What's a misunderstood Superkid to do? He rigs an iPod to become his own sidekick, Erasmus, sort of a charged-up Great Gazoo, and sets out to out perform Mike in good deeds. It all backfires until Kyle's best friend, Mairi, is in grave danger and the two boys fight it out to save her from radioactive dirt bands. The plot is not original (see the current TV show, No Ordinary Family, as just one example), but it is done well and with lots of humor. Kyle is wry and witty and totally at a loss as to how to regain his stage-center attention without revealing his identity. If there is one shortcoming of the book, Mairi is bland and much like every superhero's girlfriend dating back to Lois Lane. She is a smart girl, so why doesn't she have a clue? We can only hope, since this book is apparently the first in a series, that Mairi is assigned her own enhanced identity later. Meanwhile, this will be an easy sell to eager readers looking for cartoonish characters and lots of laughs. It even has the makings of a pretty good movie. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Sixth-grader Kyle is smart, popular, and the planner of high-quality pranks. Then an encounter with a mysterious "space plasma" leaves him with cosmic intellect, super-strength, and the ability to fly. Kyle loves his new skills, but decides it's safest to keep them under wraps. However, the plasma has brought something else as well—a strange boy whom Kyle strongly suspects is an alien. Mighty Mike has superpowers too—but he isn't shy about exercising them in public. Mike quickly becomes a sensation with adults as well as kids, even though his good deeds don't always go smoothly. Kyle resents Mike taking over his top-dog status and suspects that the newcomer may have more sinister schemes in mind. He plans a super prank to expose him, but things get disastrously out of hand. There is a subtle underlying message about perception vs. reality. Kyle is not a particularly admirable character. He is self-centered and frequently uses his newfound powers to manipulate people. Much of his vaunted popularity seems to rest on his ability to humiliate others, especially in setting up grudge pranks on request. His crowd is quick to switch allegiance when a new sensation comes along. The author takes some sly digs at popular culture as well. The question of Mike's true identity is left unresolved. Is he an earnest, if somewhat naïve superhero or are Kyle's rather cynical suspicions on track? Who is the good guy and who is really the archvillain? Tune in next time....—Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL
Kirkus Reviews

Twelve-year-old Kyle Camden was an intelligent prankster before getting caught in a plasma storm (NOT a meteor shower) late one night while setting up a practical joke. Now he's super-intelligent and super-strong, and he can fly. Unfortunately, the plasma storm gave similar powers (and amnesia) to "Mike," another 12-year-old, who's a stranger in town. Mike becomes "Mighty Mike," a superhero (in a cape no less), as well as the talk of the town and school. Kyle decides Mike must be shown for the dolt--or alien--he is. Kyle's pranks (in disguise as the Azure Avenger) go horribly wrong, and to the locals Kyle's alter ego appears an archvillain. Will the town, especially best friend Mairi, ever see the truth of the matter? Kyle shares in the telling of his tale through "deciphered" secret journal entries, and the whole is good, snide fun. However, Lyga's first for a younger audience leaves too much unresolved, even for a series kickoff. Less a series opener than the first part of a longer single work, this offers too much setup, too little story. (Funny science fiction. 8-12

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545196499
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Series: Archvillain Series , #1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 360,744
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.46 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Barry Lyga

Barry Lyga is the author of ARCHVILLAIN and THE MAD MASK, the first two novels of Kyle Camden’s adventures. He’s also the author of several critically acclaimed YA novels including THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF FANBOY AND GOTH GIRL, as well as its follow-up, GOTH GIRL RISING; BOY TOY; and HERO-TYPE. Barry lives in Brooklyn, New York. When he’s not writing he uses his superpowers to fight crime.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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(5)

4 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2014

    Love

    I love this book
    Its cool but I wouldn't buy it because its the type of book that I would only read once
    Other wise its a great book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2014

    Cheesey

    This book would be alright to rent from a library, but not to buy

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2013

    Meow

    I really enjoyed this book. I liked how Mighty Mike steals the popularity (no offense to Kyle) and how Kyle has THREE PERSONALITIES! His personalities are: the Azure Avenger, the Blue Freak, and Kyle Camden, Mairi McTaggert's BFF. Kyle has always been smart with school as a bore, but now his brain can process so much information that he memorized Wikipedia just because he could. Kyle also has superpowers. He's almost invulnerable and can fly and break the sound barrier. At the end he saves the world from dirt monster ASE, which is caused by the unearthly plasma that hits him when he is trying to play a prank on Bouring Middle School. You see, he just wants to prove that Mighty Mike, the town superhero, is just another typical, oh, alien fraud. In the end, Archvillian is a thrilling read. Barry Lyga is currently on my favorite author list.

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Kira M for TeensReadToo

    One night, while playing a prank on the town's high school, Kyle Camden is exposed to plasma. From the plasma, he obtains superpowers. Awesome, right? Except for the fact that from the plasma appears a clumsy, really-bad-at-saving-the-world alien named Mighty Mike. Determined to prove who Mike really is, Kyle turns into a supervillain to show everyone the truth. When the world turns against him and the radiation from the alien puts his friend's life in danger, however, Kyle will have more to deal with than he ever imagined. Can Kyle save his best friend? Can he prove Mighty Mike is not who he says he is? A quick read for superhero fans, the characters are entertaining and memorable. The plot is simple, but fun to read. Those who like adventure, action, superheroes, and fantasy will enjoy reading ARCHVILLAIN.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Kira M for Teens Read Too

    One night, while playing a prank on the town's high school, Kyle Camden is exposed to plasma. From the plasma, he obtains superpowers. Awesome, right? Except for the fact that from the plasma appears a clumsy, really-bad-at-saving-the-world alien named Mighty Mike. Determined to prove who Mike really is, Kyle turns into a supervillain to show everyone the truth. When the world turns against him and the radiation from the alien puts his friend's life in danger, however, Kyle will have more to deal with than he ever imagined. Can Kyle save his best friend? Can he prove Mighty Mike is not who he says he is? A quick read for superhero fans, the characters are entertaining and memorable. The plot is simple, but fun to read. Those who like adventure, action, superheroes, and fantasy will enjoy reading ARCHVILLAIN.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Adorable hero story

    Kyle Camden lives in the small town of Bouring, where nothing exciting ever happens. Until one strange night when the sky lights up with mysterious lights. All of a sudden, nothing is the same. Kyle discovers his body has developed so interesting powers. Even more perplexing is the arrival of a boy with similar powers, named Mighty Mike. Mike has been flying all over the nation saving lives, but Kyle knows there is something much more sinister going on. The question is, can Kyle exposed Mike for the fraud he is without making his own situation into something worse?

    A super, drippingly cute book. I am a HUGE fan of Barry Lyga, so I was totally expecting to love this book. But it was not like I thought it would be. There were totally some surprises that threw me off, and I still enjoyed the book. First of all, Kyle's voice is both wise and funny. Then there's the fact that he is a super genius and yet still struggles with the things normal boys do (like having "the talk" with his Dad). I loved how Kyle takes everyday techie objects and turns them into boy fantasy items. This is how I imagine boys ages 6-12 see their world all of the time. Very clever! Kyle's friend Mairi is also a nice touch, to give the story a slight feminine side. And with an ending that is sure to leave readers wanting more, elementary school age boys will love it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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