Reviews index

Being by Kevin Brooks

cover image Penguin Books, 2007
(13+) In hospital for a routine operation for a suspected ulcer, Robert wakes up during the procedure, and alarmingly finds that he is in the basement, and the opening in his stomach has revealed not flesh and blood, but different coloured strands of wire, mechanical things where his organs should be. Men in the room are not hospital attendants but people with guns, giving orders, and he grabs one of the guns and escapes. Later in a hotel room, he cuts into himself to check what he saw. He cannot explain to himself what has happened, but simply and instinctively knows he must flee.

An exciting, fast paced action thriller, Being will have a ready audience. Robert is a smart character, taking all sorts of risks to get out of London to a place of safety. Boys particularly will thrill with his near miss adventures as he keeps one step ahead of the unknown Ryan, the commanding man with the gun in the hospital basement.

I found some of the introspection a little wearing, but the readers will love it as they identify with Robert, alone and having to piece together what he knows to work out what he is. I was eagerly looking forward to answers at the end of the book, but there wasn't one. There is a web site where readers can contribute thoughts and questions, rather than having a sequel to read. An interesting slant on the amazing number of series books now being written, and which I assumed this would be.
Fran Knight


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