Let me start of this review by saying that I cannot wait until this book is turned into a movie, I can see it now. It has the components to be a blockbuster hit or at least a cult classic for us science fiction geeks.
This science fiction novel centers around the main character, Owen Grey, and the Neural Autofocus MK-4 which can turn a normal guy into a genius to rival Einstein, or make a skinny person into Bruce Lee. Owen begins his day having to watch one of his students, who is by the way an amp like him, jump from the roof and kill herself.
She saw what was coming, Owen did not.
The rest of the day could be classified as one from hell. He was evicted from his apartment next since Amps no longer have any rights. Next, Owen loses his dad, but not before it is revealed that the neural implant inside of Owen’s head is special. Owen is what’s called a Zenith, a special amp. Keeping the suspense tight, Owen is also thrown into the most wanted list along with a special team of military amps, the first set of amps to ever exist and now Owen is labeled as a terrorist. The US is primed with fear to a fever pitch and regular humans are just waiting for a stray spark to light the ensuing inferno. Before that happens Owen hikes west to find Jim and discover what is held within his head.
Jim Howard lives in the Eden trailer park in Eastern Oklahoma. This is the man that takes in Owen and tells him more about the device in his head. This sets up an internal struggle with Owen and if/when he will turn on the Zenith. Owen tries to deny the power that is locked away within his skull but ultimately has no choice but to go ‘Whole Hog’ and give in to the incessant urging by the other amp and captian of the Zeniths, Lyle Crosby.
Owens nemesis, Joe Vaughn is a ‘pure priders’ who is in charge of an organization of regular humans that basically discriminate and hate against the amps. With the rest of America either joining the side of hating the amps or supporting the amps, the lines are being drawn to decide which position is right, that of the pure priders or the fact that the amps are human beings and deserve rights.
Amped is a pager turner that keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next. When Owen activates his Zenith and becomes what he is meant to be the action scenes are great and Dan Wilson does an excellent job of making you care about what happens to all of the characters. You cannot help buy sympathize with the amps living together in trailer parks with flood lights being shinned in on them every night. As Owen finds out from Lyle, the amps in Lyle’s gang do not plan on going quietly into the night and letting the regular humans subjugate the amps. Or is nothing as it seems to Owen. Is his budding relationship with Lyle’s twin sister Lucy, real or staged. Is someone actually hunting down and killing the remaining Zenith’s or is Owen being played for a fool. Not only that but how many people must Owen lose before he stands up and does what needs to be done in order to protect the amps. When the newspapers highlight that the amps have attacked, is the entire US being taken for a fool. Can Owen stop the regular humans from crushing the amps who are confined in camps across the country? Is Joe Vaughn even the true leader of his group of pure priders?
All of the answer are within Amped, a sizzling, sensational, sci fi surprise for everyone if you like a bit of fantasy, action, suspense, love, and deep characters. I give this book four out of five stars.
~ Andre Alan