Jason Steed, an 11-year-old Brit who appears to be the next James Bond in the making, returns for his second book (The Fledgling, 2010).
Jason continues his independent role as a secret asset for Scotland Yard, this time going up against the lethal Triads, who are bilking millions of pounds out of an unsuspecting British public. The Triads want to overthrow the Chinese government and take control of the largest nation in the world, just the first step toward eventual global domination. It’s up to Jason to infiltrate the Triads by befriending the criminal son of one of its leaders, which leads him down a path of murder and mayhem he may not be able to pull back from. When his own government betrays him, he’s on the run across Europe, dodging assassins from all sides while trying to save the life of a Chinese girl who could be the key to it all. While this sequel is jam-packed with one action sequence after another (to the detriment of clarity), it has lost the balance of its predecessor. Jason is asked to kill at will, taking out the innocent as well as the guilty with apparently no compunction. The novel takes place in 1974, and it is unlikely that today’s young readers will understand references to Mao or Chinese population control.
Breathless pace can't compensate for murky plotting and uneasy moral underpinnings. (Adventure. 9-11)