Having “stabilized Nothingness” with gravity waves, supergenius Nate Bannister has created an Infinite Engine, and the nefarious Red Death Tea Society is naturally out to get it.
As megalomaniac supervillain and tea fanatic Jakob Maculte commands not only a veritable army of trained assassins, but teeming clouds of surgically altered bumblebees, it looks like no one can stop him from seizing the Engine and achieving his evil goal of “world domination through science.” No one, that is, except Nate and his resourceful, if only normally bright friend Delphine—with assistance from the hosts of nanobots and other gadgets that pour willy-nilly from the young inventor’s brain. Though Delphine spends so much time punching her insufficiently communicative partner that their relationship has an uncomfortably abusive edge, her comment that she likes her ostracized classmate because he’s smart, not despite it, is well-taken. Also, she proves a sturdy sidekick and problem-solver whether the challenge is saving the world or defusing a romantic rivalry with Betsy, Nate’s mercurial talking car. After narrow squeaks aplenty, the bees and thugs are eventually driven off and Maculte hauled away to (temporary, as it turns out) confinement. Lafontaine adds occasional vignettes featuring an all-white cast of heroic sixth-graders and sinister villains with melodramatic facial hair.
Fans of How to Capture an Invisible Cat (2015) will find an agreeable extension of its high jinks. (Science fantasy. 8-12)