The Sons of Scarlatti (Infinity Drake, Book 1) Paperback – 26 Feb 2015
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“Funny, thrilling, brain-punchingly good.” Derek Landy
"Anyone who loves science and adventure would love this book, it has a great mix of complication and humor." Tilly, Lovereading4Kids
"This was a fantastic book because it was jam packed with lots of action and adventure. As well as being an exciting read it also made me laugh out loud." Alice, Lovereading4Kids
About the Author
John McNally is a screenwriter who’s worked with Aardman, Sony and the BBC. INFINITY DRAKE is his first novel and was written for his children (who, of course, knew nothing about it). Once it sold to a publisher he finally showed it to his kids. Luckily, they liked it, and now millions of others will too…
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If I had a checklist of everything I would be looking for in a first-in-series book, then Infinity Drake would have a tick in every single box:
Non-stop action and adventure from beginning to end - triple check
An intelligent, brave and, most importantly, genuinely likeable lead character that kids will love rooting for - triple check
Multiple instances of near-death, life on the line peril for our hero - check
A just-as-interesting cast of supporting characters - double check
A superbly nasty villain with a truly diabolical plan for world domination (and one that we haven't seen before) - triple check
Great dialogue - check
A thread of humour woven though the book, to take the dark edge off the nastiness of the villains plans - check
An original concept that we haven't seen in a book for the 9+ age group in recent years - check
Smart prose with vocabulary hasn't been dumbed down and therefore challenges readers - check
I think you can probably tell from this that I am a fan, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Infinity Drake isn't quite Skulduggery Pleasant or Department 19, but it certainly isn't far off. In addition to the above it also comes with the nastiest insects in the world ever - wasps! And not just ordinary wasps either (as far as I am concerned that would be bad enough). These are wasps that have been genetically engineered to have but one goal - kill, kill kill! Life as we know it could be completely eradicated if these things are left to procreate and multiply and kill. And the only thing that has any chance of stopping them is a team of teeny, tiny special force operatives and an equally tiny 12-year-old boy. And at that size these "ϋber-wasp killing machines" are as big as jet planes in comparison.
Please believe me when i say that this is most definitely not Honey, I Shrunk The Kids! (I hate that film & its sequels). Whilst it contains humour, it is never farcical and the peril that is experienced by Finn Drake and his new friends is genuine and written in a way that had my heart pounding and my eyes reading the text as quickly as possible, just to find out what happened next, at which point the author would cunningly cut to a different scene and leave out heroes' fates hanging in the balance for a few pages.
It's very rare that I will read a book and wish for it to become a film, as I have been disappointed far too many times in the past (Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief anyone?. In the case of Department 19 I wished (and am still wishing) for a video game; in the case of Barry Hutchison's Invisible Fiends series, I would have been happy with a set of action figures. However, I think Infinity Drake would make a freakin' awesome movie, and I wouldn't be surprised if the rights have already been snapped up by one of the big Hollywood movie companies.
If you have a 9+ year old boy or girl who loves action and adventure, with a little science fiction thrown in, then put this straight to the top of your 'must-get-my-hands-on-a-copy' list.
To begin with, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book – I was worried that it was going to end up being a rip-off of Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and it’s certainly true that the author was probably influenced by that. However, this book offers so much more.
Loosely speaking, it follows the story of the young Infinity Drake (Finn for short), as he helps his Uncle Al to save the world from a terrorist conspiracy. The terrorists have released the scarlatti insect, an extremely dangerous creature which threatens to spread across the majority of the civilised world, wiping out 6 billion people.
Finn and his Uncle Al team up with some science folks to carry out an audacious plan – a crack military team is to be shrunk down to the size of fingernails and send to track down the terrorists’ scarlatti by releasing, tracking and following a second scarlatti, the only other insect of its kind in the world. Sounds like nothing could go wrong, right?
Wrong. The mission is compromised, and the special forces team has to operate off the radar, with no way of getting back in touch with HQ. Plus they have to deal with insects and animals that are bigger than they are, and when your grenades are the size of a speck of dust, it’s pretty difficult to take down an angry carnivore.
This book would be perfect for young adults with an interest in science, because science plays a key role throughout the manuscript. Whether the science that McNally speaks about is possible or not, it’s certainly plausible – the only thing that threw me off was a momentary reference to Google Analytics, which was poorly researched. I use Google Analytics all of the time for work, and so I know when someone’s talking out of their arse. In this instance, McNally was.
But overall, it’s pretty good for what it is, an escapism tale targeted at younger readers with a love for science. Infinity Drake is a relatable hero, even to myself – the series will be continued, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he gets up to in the next book.