CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 3 . . . .September 28, 2007
The Drone War: A Cassandra Virus Novel.
Sackville, NB: Sybertooth Inc, 2007.
147 pp., pbk., $11.95.
Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.
Review by Marina Cohen.
Despite the shortening winters, there were still snowdrifts almost three metres high along the Madawaska and in the Gaspé, lit pinkish-orange by station lights, when he pushed up the blind in order to look out. There was something eerie and lonely about being on the train at night, watching the silent white woods flash past. The sleeping farms; the deserted crossings with the bells ringing and no-one to hear except him and the engine crew; the coyote-wail of the engine's horn, and the yawning clusters of people on station platforms, catching trains at one and two in the morning along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River—all seemed to belong to some remote and secret world.
Thirteen-year-old genius, Jordan O'Blenis, is convinced that his sister is in trouble. Cassie has been working on a top-secret project for her company, BWB Aerospace, and has had government agents from both the dreaded Bureau 6 and the suspicious Bureau 7 stalking her. Along with his best friend, Helen, Jordan sets out to help his sister, but when Jordan is kidnapped and taken to an island, it's up to Cassandra—the supercomputer he invented—and BWB's drone to rescue him instead.
The Drone War is the sequel to Johansen's The Cassandra Virus and reunites readers with Jordan and Helen who jokingly refer to themselves as Igors. Johansen's characters are both believable and likeable—this is largely due to Johansen's knack for great dialogue. In The Drone War, Johansen demonstrates, yet again, her extensive knowledge of technological terminology, peppering it throughout the text, adding both to the integrity and credibility of the novel. The plot is fairly predictable, and this reader didn't get a sense that Jordan was ever in any real danger, but the humour and quick pace drove the story forward.
Science-fiction lovers as well as those interested in computers, technology and artificial intelligence are sure to enjoy this novel.
Marina Cohen has a Master's Degree in French literature from the University of Toronto and has been teaching in the York Region District School Board for 10 years. Her second novel, Trick of the Light, will be published this fall.
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