After discovering that their home of Serenity, New Mexico, is really a giant science experiment to test the effects of nurturing on clones of master criminals (Masterminds, 2015), four teens escape and head out into the world in search of revenge and freedom.
But the scientists behind Project Osiris have no intention of allowing their test subjects to walk away. Malik, Eli, Tori, and Amber will need to draw upon all their criminal-mastermind DNA if they are to succeed in exposing their captors and saving the other clones. Eli and Tori are torn between enjoying their mastermind skills and battling their fears over who they may become. Malik is pure bravado, focused on living life to its fullest, even if that means breaking some laws to do so. However, Amber, with her poor impulse control, manic tendencies, and violent outbursts, is the source of most of their problems. What worked well in the series opener fizzles in this sequel. The rotating point of view is needlessly confusing and highlights uneven characterization. All the kids’ plans and wandering leaves them with new enemies and in worse shape than before. Rather than continuing the first volume’s excitement, this second installment reads more like an extended preamble for the next book.
Oddly paced with little payoff, this sequel falls victim to middle-volume slump. (Adventure. 8-12)