Monday, August 26, 2019

MMGM: Charlie Thorne and the last Equation by Stuart Gibbs


ABOUT THE BOOK

Throughout history, the greatest scientists — Einstein, Darwin, Gallileo, Newton — have made discoveries that were too dangerous to trust humanity with, so they hid them. The CIA — and many other people — have been searching for these for decades to no avail.

But now, an evil organization is closing in on the most dangerous discovery of all — an equation developed by Albert Einstein himself that could destroy the world. Desperate, the CIA has no choice but to recruit the most brilliant person they can find to help them: A twelve-year-old genius named Charlie Thorne.

The catch: Charlie isn’t like any genius you’ve ever encountered before. She’s a daredevil. A troublemaker. And possibly a criminal.

Now, Charlie finds herself unwillingly dragged into a perilous mission that will take her from the ski slopes of Colorado to the tundra of Greenland to the secret tunnels underneath Jerusalem. Along the way, she’ll have to crack a series of clues left by Einstein himself. She’ll have no idea who to trust. And her life will be in constant jeopardy.

But she’ll have to survive. Because she’s the only one who can save the world.


REVIEW

Having read a number of Stuart Gibbs books, I was intrigued when I heard about this one.  The description of  twelve-year-old Charlie Thorne as both a genius and a thief caused me to raise my eyebrows.  Definitely a different sort of main character.  So I eagerly picked up the book and read it.  And I was not disappointed.  Gibbs takes the reader on quite the ride along with Charlie and her CIA companions.  Charlie isn't entirely likable at first, at least I didn't find her so, even though her intelligence and abilities are impressive.  She isn't really using her abilities in a productive way, mostly she's using them to skim through her college courses, and manipulate others.  But later in the story after I read her backstory it became clear why Charlie behaves this way.  If my parents simply used me to try to make money or get famous I'd probably be self-protective and cynical as well.  On top of that is her bitterness toward the company she sent a computer program to, only to have them steal the software and make millions off it.  However her stealing from the company and basically ruining them in the process wasn't really the best response.  And it's that choice that gets her pulled into the search for Pandora.

Pandora is a supposed equation created by Albert Einstein that supposedly presents a shortcut to creating energy.  An incredibly valuable item, if it exists.  After seventy years of searching in vain, the CIA is desperate enough to blackmail Charlie into helping them find the equation.  Especially since a terrorist group called the Furies is out to find and exploit the equation as well.  Charlie agrees to help, reluctantly, but she has her own plans related to the equation, she just has to survive in order to do so.

There is much excitement as Charlie faces off with both the CIA and the Furies in a struggle to survive long enough to find the equation.  She makes both good and bad decisions that heavily effect the outcome.  There's plenty of science thrown in along with background about Einstein (although how much of this is actually true, I don't know, but Gibbs makes it believable enough for the reader to buy into the story, despite the fabricated parts).   I did find myself rooting for Charlie as things heated up and she struggled with both the difficulties before her and her own personal choices.    I found it fascinating to follow along as she struggles to work through the little information available to try to figure out where Einstein hid the equation.  There is a decent among of information included involving math, physics, and Einstein himself.  I found that fascinating but not all young readers will, those who do will be enthralled with Charlie's brilliance and her courage in finding something to care more about than herself for the first time.

A fascinating new book in a series that I look forward to reading more of.  I do look forward to reading about Charlie again as she wrestles with some truly immense challenges.

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