In the not-too-distant future, in a place called 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 Challenged Boys-freight class. At Clarissa Frayne, the orphans, called “no-sponsors,” are put to work by the state, testing dangerous products that never should be allowed near human beings. By the time the no-sponsors are sent to their cardboard utility pipes, given their nightly meal pack, and finally fall asleep, they are often covered in burns, bruises, or sores from the work of the day. Cosmo Hill knows that he must escape, even though he has no idea what might be waiting for him on the outside. He plans for the moment when he can make a break. When that moment finally comes, he nearly dies while escaping. But he is rescued by a gang of “Supernaturalists,” a motley crew of kids who all have a special psychic ability-one that Cosmo is about to learn he has as well. They “see” supernatural Parasites-tiny, translucent creatures who feed on the life force of humans.
Taking a break from his wildly successful Artemis Fowl series, Eoin Colfer delivers another punchy, superbly readable novel with all of the trademark qualities that have earned him so many fans. The Supernaturalist is inventive, dramatic, delicately witty and positively hip.
Satellite City, a vast twenty-five million people plus satellite-controlled metropolis in the third millennium, is home to Cosmo Hill. This 14-year-old orphan, a “no sponsor”, inhabits—or rather “survives” in—an orphanage called the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys. There are only three ways out of such a miserable establishment: adoption, death or escape. The average life expectancy is 15 years. Cosmo has a year left. At best.
When his chance comes to escape during a transportation crash, Cosmo grabs it and flees into the unknown city. But he is tracked by a zealous guard and falls from a tall building. Accidentally, of course. As Cosmo’s life force ebbs away, apparently sucked out by a strange blue parasite, he is rescued by a motley crew of kids. They’re on a mission, and Cosmo is drafted in to help them. It’s a whole new dangerous beginning…
Colfer has carved out a funky little genre all on his own: he writes exciting adventures that are funny and futuristic, page-turning and realistic. They’re not fantasy, but his books are fantastical. They’ve got a bit of magic about them, without being overtly magical in the Harry Potter sense.
Artemis Fowl has been described as “Die Hard with fairies”. The Supernaturalist is heralded as The Matrix meets Ghostbusters. Colfer has a golden touch at the moment and this is another priceless nugget. Suitable for ages 10 and over. —John McLay