STORM: The Infinity Codeby Emma Young
STORM is a gadget-packed, high-adrenaline adventure-a middlegrade spy novel sure to leave readers white-knuckled and breathless. It's also the name of the ambitious organization formed by the story's three brainiac kids: Will, the loner, inventive genius, and creator of cutting-edge gadgets. Andrew, the software whiz-kid, millionaire, and fashion/i>… See more details below
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STORM is a gadget-packed, high-adrenaline adventure-a middlegrade spy novel sure to leave readers white-knuckled and breathless. It's also the name of the ambitious organization formed by the story's three brainiac kids: Will, the loner, inventive genius, and creator of cutting-edge gadgets. Andrew, the software whiz-kid, millionaire, and fashion disaster. Gaia, the brilliant and mysterious teen chemist, fluent in French, Italian, Mandarin, and blowing stuff up. Will first scoffs at STORM's grand plans to combat global strife. But when the group uncovers a plot to create a deadly revolutionary weapon, the three race from England to Russia, determined not only to find and dismantle the weapon, but to confront the psychopathic scientist behind it all.
Science and Technology to Over-Rule Misery, or STORM, is an organization consisting of three brilliant teenagers. Will, the central character, is an inventor of creative gadgets and is troubled by family issues. Andrew is a computer genius, and Gaia is a language expert with a photographic memory. STORM's mission to tackle the world's problems using their skills seems daunting, but when the three are able to save an airliner from disaster, they believe that they can actually help the world. Later when a friend's father is kidnapped and forced to create a deadly weapon that could destroy Earth, the team jumps into action. They track the friend and his father from London to St. Petersburg and discover the weapon's hidden location. The teens try to thwart the friend's father and a rogue secret agent using mainly their knowledge of science and their inventive tools. Young's debut novel is full of unusual scientific creations-all based on real inventions. The novel is plot-driven and packed with unlikely escapes and improbable plot twists-exactly what many middle school and junior high readers crave. This action novel is slightly unbalanced and its conclusion is a little clunky as it leaves a few unanswered questions. It also enters a crowded field of similar books such as the Jimmy Coates, Alex Rider, and the Young Bond series. Despite these drawbacks, it seems that this series start could find an audience among students eager for a book with minimal violence, a little suspense, and creative and resourceful characters. Reviewer: Jeff Mann
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)
Will, a 14-year-old student in a gifted program at a London school, has a knack for coming up with cool inventions like a Rapid Ascent wall-climbing device or a mobile camera he calls Fly Spy. His classmate Gaia, who is skilled at chemistry, including explosives, invites him to join a secret organization along with two other teens: Andrew, a wealthy young computer genius, and Caspian, a budding astrophysicist. Andrew wants to create a group called “STORM: Science and Technology to Over-rule Misery,” and use their brainpower to solve world problems. Will doesn’t take the group seriously at first, but when Caspian’s father is kidnapped and Caspian is forced to create a deadly new weapon in order to save him, Will, Andrew and Gaia must sneak into an illicit research base in St. Petersburg and foil the plans of the evil scientist behind the plot, using all their skills, brains and devices. Fans of the Alex Rider series will enjoy this action-filled story of intrepid kids saving the world, even if their exploits are rather hard to believe at times. The science behind the story, however, is true, according to the author, a science journalist, and in a note at the end she explains a bit more about the gadgets and the research involved, with some b/w illustrations. Adventure fans and science enthusiasts alike will appreciate STORM’s escapades. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)
Gr 7-10- STORM: Science and Technology to Over-Rule Misery is an organization founded in London by 14-year-old genius Andrew, a software millionaire who wants to change the world for the better. He has recruited Will, Gaia, and Caspian, also prodigies, to help him with his endeavor. After one successful mission, though, things start to go awry. Caspian's father, Vassily Baraban, a famous astrophysicist, has been kidnapped, and his son is willing to do whatever it takes to save him, even if that means breaking away from STORM and joining a group that might destroy it. This is a great novel for aficionados of Anthony Horowitz's "Alex Rider" books (Philomel), but it's a lot more technical. (An author's note describes the gadgets and the actual research and inventions on which they are based.) Sure to be checked out by those who love SF/spy novels.-Heather Scribner, Lawrenceburg Community Schools, IN
Read an Excerpt
It was still dark when the alarm went off. The sound sent shock waves blasting through the sleeping boy. He’d put the clock underneath the comforter so it wouldn’t wake the woman in the room next door. She was a light sleeper and she took a strong interest in his activities. This morning, he had no desire to explain himself.
Will tumbled out of bed but was instantly alert. Within five minutes, he was dressed. Jeans, T-shirt, sweater and jacket, and sneakers with the new soles. He pulled a backpack from the top shelf of his wardrobe and a plastic storage crate from underneath his bed. From the crate, he took the reason for the six thirty a.m. start: a coiled length of half-inch-thick climbing rope and a harness. In the bottom of the crate, wrapped in a sheet, he found the spear-fishing gun, an old birthday present from his father, which he’d never used—at least on fish. Will stuffed it all into his backpack and slung the device on top. Six forty-five a.m. His heart was pounding. He was ready.
The third stair down was the one to watch for. One hand on the banister, he skipped over it. Then he was out the front door and into the freezing fog of the early December morning. Will closed the door gently. He glanced up at the window of the studio. No light. Natalia was still asleep.
Will knew the way well. Left out of the house, across the square, telling himself to slow down, though his feet were itching to break into a jog. Dawn was breaking. Gray color slowly crept over the buildings. To his right, a red double-decker bus rumbled past, spewing out exhaust. Through the dim light, a black cab followed it, veering off toward Tottenham Court Road. Will hoisted the pack higher on his back and pulled his scarf up across his mouth. With numb fingers he reached into the pocket of his jacket and touched the smooth soft leather of a cricket ball. A ball his father had given to him, for luck.
Seven minutes later, he was there. Will paused outside the gates. There were two security cameras. One over the double front doors to the school. The second around the back, overlooking the parking lot. They were a few years old. And obvious. Will had timed the narrow arc of the front camera from several feet on one side of the front gate to roughly three feet on the other side. He glanced at his watch—another present from his father. A barometer, thermometer, altimeter, wind sensor, bug-sweeper, and timepiece rolled into one. Ten seconds. Eight seconds. Five seconds. And he ran.
Eight seconds later, he was crouching to one side of the main entrance. The camera had missed him by a mile. He was breathing hard. It wasn’t the exertion. It was excitement. There wasn’t much that he liked about the school, but the building itself was perfect. Three stories high—an ideal testing ground for the prototype.
Will glanced around the yard, but it was far too early for any teachers. They wouldn’t arrive for more than an hour. The cleaners worked at night. The caretaker had Thursdays off.Quickly, he slipped around to the rear of the building and looked up. The school was old, Victorian. To Will’s left, an iron fire escape zigzagged its way up the solid red brick. The walls seemed to soar. But Will had confidence in his design. He’d been over it countless times. The mechanism would work, he was sure of that. At least, he thought he was sure—but there was nothing like a trial run for throwing up oversights or errors.
Will took a deep breath. He checked his watch: 7:12 a.m. He had plenty of time. He lowered his backpack to the ground and pulled out the device. It needed a name, but this was Will’s only superstition: Name nothing until it works. Then he hauled out the rope and the climbing harness. The harness slipped easily over his jeans. Next came the speargun. It was low-powered, running on pressurized gas. It should be all right, he hoped. Deftly, he tied one end of the rope to a metal rod to which he’d soldered not a spear but a grappling hook instead.The fog was clearing, but mist still swirled around the roof. Will grabbed the speargun and closed one eye. It was psychological. He felt it would help his aim. The base of the gun close to his chest, he fired. Rope whizzed past his ears. And, to Will’s relief, the grappling hook caught in the old iron guttering that was fixed just below the tiles of the roof. He gave a quick tug. The hook moved. Then it held. Two more tugs. He attached the device to his harness, then the rope to his device, and tried his entire body weight. The hook didn’t budge.Two quick breaths, and he took the device in his hand. Inside the black casing was a motor, powered by batteries, which turned a series of cogs and wheels. How many movies had featured gadgets like this? he thought. How many people knew that all were phonies? Special effects. All faked. But this . . .
The response was instant.
Excitement flooded through Will’s body as he was lifted off the ground. The cogs turned so quickly that to anyone else the sound would have been a seamless whirr. But Will could visualize every turn, every spin of every wheel that was necessary to hold against the rope, to move it through, to pull him up.
He’d intended to time the ascent, but it was too late. Already he was nine feet up in the air, and he could see across the roof of a low house on the other side of the road. He turned back to the wall and blinked up as the mist parted and the pale yellow sun took the chill from his face. Will could make out the shape of the lichen on the tiles. In an instant, he reached the gutter and swung his legs up and over. For a few moments, he just crouched there, up on the roof. To get to the fire escape—and so to get down—he’d have to edge several feet across the tiles. It had been raining but his soles did not slip.
Slowly, each muscle in his legs tense, Will stood up. The wind cut across his face, but it did not matter. Nothing mattered. Except that he was there, on the roof, his school beneath his feet. Will clasped the black plastic casing against his body.
“Rapid Ascent,” he whispered to himself.
After two months of creation, at last it had a name.
Will did not know it, but it was his trial of Rapid Ascent that secured his invitation to join STORM.
STORM. A secret organization. A group that would change his life.
He had been wrong that early morning when he’d believed he was alone. Someone else had been watching. A girl.
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