Masterminds: Criminal Destiny by Gordon Korman (2016)
After escaping their “perfect” hometown of Serenity, New Mexico, Eli, Amber, Tori, and Malik are trying to lay-low in order to stay off of the radar of Project Osiris.
They seek solace at former classmate Randy’s boarding school in Colorado to regroup and begin planning their next move towards revealing the truth about Project Osiris to the public. Just as they’re starting to feel safe, Project Osiris shows up forcing the kids to make a quick escape and be on the run once again.
The group decides to pursue a lead with Tamara Dunleavy, one of the founders to Project Osiris. The four quickly learn that exposing the truth about Project Osiris is going to be a lot harder than they originally thought; life on the outside of their idyllic hometown is much different than what they grew up learning about the world. Their story seems so contrived and unbelievable, and even the people who they expected would be willing to help want nothing to do with their mission. In addition, Project Osiris seems to still have the upper-hand and is hot on the kids’ trail no matter how far off the beaten path they go.
All along the kids have to battle with the reason they were created in the first place: Are they more than their genes say they are, or are they destined to be criminals?
What I liked: Criminal Destiny is fast-paced and action-packed, more so than the previous book. There’s car chases, jumping out of buildings, and falling down cliffs all throughout the book. Just when it seems the kids have escaped Project Osiris and they’ll have a moment to relax and carefully plan, they have to make a quick escape to evade their pursuers.
Like its prequel, this book is told through multiple viewpoints. It’s interesting to see how each of the characters deals with life on the run. Amber still wants to have control over every minute of her day while Malik is more willing to embrace being a potential criminal on the run.
What I didn’t like: Since the kids are constantly on the run, the plot seemed a lot more random and less thought-out. The four kids travel half the country pursuing leads that are not much more than a name. Everything is fueled on wishful thinking rather than the deliberate planning the characters had to do in order to escape the Surety and Serenity in the first book. It addition to the plot being more loosely woven, I found Criminal Destiny to be not as well-written overall. There was one point I noticed where the narrator changed mid-chapter.
My opinion in summary: As the second in a planned trilogy, Criminal Destiny begins to explore the overall question of if a person is who they are because of their genetics or because of the situations they have experienced. As the clones of criminals, Eli, Amber, Tori, and Malik try to expose the truth about their origins and creators in this fast-paced, action-packed sequel.
Overall rating: 6 out of 10