In this second book in the "Cyberia" series, Zane has finally completed his two-month-long grounding and is free. Unfortunately, Hugo, his talking dog, is not free. On their first outing, Hugo finds himself inexplicably drawn to the veterinary practice of the evil Dr. Gristle. Surprisingly, Dr. Gristle, despite being responsible for Zane's grounding, is pleased to see them. Zane is wary, but he is pleased when Dr. Gristle gifts him with Alfalfa, a talking parrot with a mind of his own. With the help of Hugo and Alfalfa, and despite the lack of help from Zane's cat, Sunflower, Zane attempts to uncover the mystery of the army of monkeys they find being trained in Wild Wood. Things get complicated when one of Dr. Gristle's projects, a monkey who walks upright and acts as a family servant, comes to live with Zane, and Zane has to figure out which of the animals he can trust before Dr. Gristle completes his mysterious plan. Reviewer: Jennifer Waldrop
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—This slim sequel to Cyberia (Scholastic, 2008) begins with a caged Zane counting down the minutes until his release from his room, which has become his prison. He has been confined for the past two months for trying to thwart evil veterinarian Dr. Gristle and his attempts at animal mind control. Once Zane is released, the doctor gives him a bird with a chip implanted in it that will brainwash the boy as he sleeps with the hope that Gristle will learn his secret of how he communicates with animals. At first Zane doesn't notice the brainwashing as he's so caught up in his deepening abilities, but his dog, Hugo, is instantly suspicious. When the doctor gives Zane's family a monkey as a servant, it is up to Hugo and Zane to ward off Gristle's attempts at mind control and figure out a way to set the animal free. This book has little of the humor and techno-talk of the previous book and it fizzles rather than sizzles. The plot doesn't go anywhere, and much of the story feels like filler for the next book. Very few of the plot threads come together in the end, and the monkey seems completely pointless, especially when so much of the story focuses on Zane and the bird.—Necia Blundy, Marlborough Public Library, MA
Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.69 (d)
Meet the Author
Chris Lynch is the author of numerous acclaimed books for middle-grade and teen readers, including the Cyberia series and the National Book Award finalist INEXCUSABLE. He teaches in the Lesley University creative writing MFA program, and divides his time between Massachusetts and Scotland.