The Supernaturalist

The Supernaturalist

4.3 205
by Eoin Colfer

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In the not-too-distant future, in a place call Satellite City, thirteen-year-old Cosmo Hill is unfortunate enough to come into the world unwanted by his parents. And so, as are all orphaned boys his age, Cosmo is dipped in a vaccine vat and sent to the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenges Boys. But when Cosmo attempts to escape, he finds himself

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In the not-too-distant future, in a place call Satellite City, thirteen-year-old Cosmo Hill is unfortunate enough to come into the world unwanted by his parents. And so, as are all orphaned boys his age, Cosmo is dipped in a vaccine vat and sent to the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenges Boys. But when Cosmo attempts to escape, he finds himself caught in a web far worse that he could have ever imagined, embroiled with private police, illegal racing gangs, and a corporation cover-up, until he discovers a horrifying secret that will force him to question everything he knows and everything he believes in.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Colfer's hard-luck tale will likely delight fans of his wildly popular Artemis Fowl series with its similar emphasis on high-tech gadgetry and fast-paced action. Set in the near future, the story concerns 14-year-old Cosmo Hill, an orphan living in Satellite City. The metropolis, a dystopia named for the metal Big Brother (a Myishi 9 Satellite) orbiting above it, offers "everything the body wanted, and nothing the soul needed." With no sponsor a detached figure which has replaced parents Cosmo ends up in an orphanage where he and other unwanted children become "guinea pigs" for food and drug testing. He escapes the orphanage soon after the novel opens, survives a brush with death and learns that he is a "Spotter" with the rare ability to see Parasites, small blue creatures that allegedly steal energy from wounded humans. Along come the Supernaturalists, a team of vigilantes, all of them also Spotters, who spend their nights roaming the streets and blasting Parasites. The story starts to get interesting late in the game, when the author reveals the true nature of the Parasites and why a mega-corporation with designs on their unique abilities has mounted a misinformation campaign against them. But the journey is uncharacteristically sluggish, especially during a lengthy scene involving rival gangs racing souped-up cars. Ages 10-up. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Abandoned by his parents as an infant, Cosmo Hill grows up in the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys, a ghastly orphanage that puts the boys to work testing dangerous products. It's escape or die, Cosmo realizes, and at age 14 he sees his chance and makes a break for freedom. The blighted future world of Satellite City is a tough place, and he's lucky enough to be rescued by the Supernaturalists. These three young people share Cosmo's gift of being able to see the Parasites, beings who seem to suck the life force out of people who are dying. The four devote themselves to hunting down these Parasites and trying to destroy them, only to learn their true nature—and discover who their real enemy is. The action rarely lets up in this SF adventure by the author of the Artemis Fowl series and The Wish List. There are rooftop battles, a car race, and even a daring space walk. There are echoes of Ghostbusters, too, as it mixes some humor in with the pursuit of the supernatural, but there are serious moments as well and even a budding romance. An exciting read featuring a brave young protagonist, this will appeal to Colfer's many fans and win him new ones. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2004, Hyperion, Miramax Books, 268p., Ages 12 to 15.
—Paula Rohrlick
Children's Literature
Some years into the future unwanted children like Cosmo Hill are sent to a special institute. Reminiscent of the workhouses and asylums of the past, the boys are guinea pigs for new drugs and other products. It is a dangerous and unhappy existence in this place called the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys. Cosmo is different, he is not willing to let his life just slip away and when he gets a chance he makes an escape along with a few other kids who can see what are called the supernatural parasites. They believe that these creatures are causing death and unhappiness among humans. Under the leadership of Stefan, they become a group of vigilantes and spend their time tracking and destroying the parasites. If these battles aren't enough they also must keep and eye out for the guards from Clarissa Frayne who would like nothing better than to capture these escapees and shrink-wrap them for good. The action never stops and the world and characters created by Colfer are engaging and the whole idea of shrink-wrapping people instead of shooting them is quite imaginative. You want to keep turning the pages. The tale takes a bit of a twist and the world that Cosmo and the other Supernaturalists live in gets turned upside down when they learn the truth about the parasites. The ending is different for a book that is bound to be a series, so we will all have to wait and see where Mono, Cosmo and Ditto head for their next adventure and what other companions will join them in their quest. 2004, Hyperion, Ages 10 up.
—Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-A suspenseful, cautionary science fiction tale. In a future dystopia, cities have become for-profit businesses. Orphanages are not exempt from the struggle to make money, and at the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys, kids are forced to endure product testing and frequently end up injured as a result. With orphans facing an average life expectancy of 15, 14-year-old Cosmo Hill knows that he is on borrowed time. Unfortunately, his escape attempt nearly proves fatal. While he's lying there dying, a small, hairless blue creature lands on his chest and begins to feed. He is rescued by the Supernaturalists, a motley crew of young people who have dedicated their lives to destroying the Parasites, which feed on the essence of the living. Cosmo joins the group as a Spotter, someone who can actually see the creatures and thus destroy them. However, facts soon emerge that cause the Supernaturalists to question everything they believe in. Is it possible that the Parasites don't feed off of the energy of dying people, but remove pain? Are they actually beneficial to society? The plot's twists and turns will keep readers totally engrossed until the last page. Colfer's futuristic world seems plausible; his characters have strengths, flaws, and histories that account for their points of view. The ending is satisfying yet open to the possibility of a sequel. For anyone who loves science fiction, or just an engrossing story, this novel is a must-read.-Saleena L. Davidson, South Brunswick Public Library, Monmouth Junction, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In the future's Satellite City, where everything's controlled by an enormous satellite, a plot-twisting adventure includes supernatural creatures, a disenfranchised band of Supernaturalists, and abundant use of futuristic weapons. Fourteen-year-old Cosmo escapes from an orphanage that uses boys as medical and commercial lab rats and meets three people racing around rooftops on a mission. The mission: electrically zapping ghostlike blue creatures at accident scenes before the creatures drain people's life force. Stefan is the leader, Mona the mechanic, and Ditto-a 28-year-old genetic experiment with a six-year-old's body-the medic. Character motivations often serve plot and exposition, but the action is nonstop. Most memorable are the corporate and police structures and weapons (including a slug shot that wraps its victim instantly in cellophane, requiring a vat of acid for removal) and the intriguing, philosophically elusive nature of the blue supernatural creatures. (Science fiction. 10-14)

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Penguin Young Readers Group
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