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by Eoin Colfer
In the near future, a place called Satellite City has become the urban nightmare du jour. Everything, including the steering of individual cars, is controlled by a privately-owned satellite hanging low in the sky over town. City police, private police, and armed-and- dangerous squads of lawyers patrol the city, and no-sponsor orphans like Cosmo Hill are locked up in a maximum security institute for parentally challenged boys where they earn their keep as guinea pigs to test all kinds of products, from music videos to health-and-beauty aids. Cosmo knows that he has a slim chance of living to adulthood, and if he does, he will be sold to a labor prison on trumped-up charges. He has three choices: be adopted, die, or escape. Its too late for door number one, so that really only leaves two…
Cosmos opportunity comes when a glitch in the satellite causes a gruesome accident. He barely survives the accident, and the shock of it turns on the ability to see supernatural creatures that seem to feed off the life-force of injured and sick people. Taken in by a small group of youngsters who have the same ability spotters or supernaturalists as they call themselves Cosmo barely has time to recover from his wounds before he is in the middle of a war against energy-eating creepy-crawlies on the one hand, and lethal lawyers, corporate security guards, hoodlums, and ninja paralegals on the other. And suddenly a 14-year-old orphan who has never had a chance to be an individual, finds himself pulling off heroics, battling monsters, saving the innocent, walking in space, defying death, overcoming his worst fears, uncovering betrayal, and getting to the bottom of a fiendish plot.
Oh yeah, he also kisses a girl.
Not bad for a first taste of freedom. Ill bet there will be more adventures to follow, engagingly narrated with a mix of high-tech wizardry and apocalyptic paranoia by the creator of the Artemis Fowl series.
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