Mad Science Institute by Sechin TowerMy rating: Sci-Fi / Adventure
Source: Publisher (direct)
Mad Science Institute has the feel of Harry Potter, but with advanced physics taking the place of magic, at a secret school founded by Nikola Tesla. But instead of a huge campus on the scale of Hogwarts, the Mechanical (or Mad) Science Institute has only three students.
I think anyone who's been a junior science nerd will identify with Soap, the school's newest recruit and narrator of half the plot. Incredibly brainy but socially awkward, she would much rather spend her days building robots than dealing with the messy and illogical human world. Fortunately, those skills are exactly what the Institute needs, and her fellow students Victor and Nikki seem to be equally geeky, making her feel right at home. But of course, there's trouble in her new-found paradise, and together the three students have to defeat the Evil Genius whose minions are causing trouble from day one. Meanwhile the other half of the story follows Soap's cousin, Dean, a really nice guy who quits a reliable job as a firefighter to avenge his murdered fiancée. I really liked Dean's part in the plot, and his ongoing competition with Victor over the relative value of brawn and brains was sweet and funny.
The science isn't really explained, and the villains are comically villainous (without really needing any deeper motivation), but this was a really fun read that I devoured in a couple of days. Easy reading, action packed, and just great entertainment.