Score: 95/100 (9.5 out of 10)
Blood of the Fisher King is a fun, entertaining, engaging sci-fi novel by real-life lawyer Nicholas/Endy Wright! Although it is targeted mainly at a young-adult audience, it could definitely be a exciting little read for adults as well.
This incredible novel explores such moral dilemmas as: What is a human being? Is a human being only one who is born naturally (from conception in a biological mother's womb)? Do those who are born unnaturally (by other means such as genetic engineering or cloning) deserve the same rights, recognition, respect, and decency as those who are? Do they deserve full citizenship if born or created in America? What makes a person an American?
What's extra interesting is that these seem to be questions that have further-reaching implications outside of the fictitious world of the book. Some of these are actually questions that real-life people are having to debate and deal with right now with regards to things like immigration, the military, or incarcerated peoples. At what point do people forfeit their rights? Does it take an action, the signing of a piece of legal paper, or is it simply implied in such situations as when it seems to be for the greater good? Look at the internment of Japanese-American citizens in the 1940s as an example. Was it the right thing to do? Was it the moral thing to do? Was it the constitutional thing to do? Are right, moral, and constitutional the same thing or are they sometimes at odds with one another?
That's a lot to take away from a YA book! And that's phenomenal! We want our teenagers, the next generation—the harbingers and hope of the future—to look at history and be asking questions like this. They should be able to stand up for themselves like Couple and essentially say to a military/scientific/political leader (to paraphrase): “Hold up. Wait a minute. Somethin' ain't right. I have my constitutional rights.”
Let's talk about the story itself because that's what most people are interested in. The book stars two brothers with the gift and curse of superpowers, Coupe and Cooper, around age 15. Coupe, the more vocal brother with the gift of rapid healing/regeneration, seems to be the central character for much of this book. He is essentially the one we're following and rooting for most of the time and later becomes a useful plot device/McGuffin. Cooper, who is more quiet, arguably has the cooler superpower though. Cooper has some telepathic abilities or ESP, able to connect with Coupe and sometimes help/enhance his brother.
We learn from the prologue that the brothers were created in a “super baby” experiment. The experiment resulted in a group of surviving, genetically-enhanced babies called the Omicron Six. The architect of their creation was a somewhat-mad (but not evil) scientist named Dr. Steven Stein who thought that these super siblings could help mankind. Apparently, the book before this ventured further into this, focusing mainly on the adventures and struggles of Coupe and Cooper in what seems to be a chaotic foster-care-like scenario. Coupe and Cooper, it seems, were raised by a terrible woman who acted as their surrogate in return for a huge payday. She was a woman who frequently neglected and abused them along with her terrible boyfriends and the priest she'd left them with. We are somewhat glad that we skipped that book because it sounds a lot more triggering and depressing than this one.
While the last book seems to have focused on the perils of Coupe and Cooper, this book really broadens out and introduces us to their super-cool super siblings! Corwin is a super sibling who can communicate with animals via ESP. He does this with all sorts of animals in unique situations. Connor is another mostly-quiet twin (like Cooper) who seems to have the ability to turn invisible and put people to sleep. Carrick also has the ability to turn invisible and seems to be the sneaky espionage expert of the bunch. Cotavatre is the only girl/sister in the group who has powers like echolocation and the ability to breathe underwater. We don't exactly remember what Cory's power is, but he does rip a dude's arm off, so maybe super-strength?
Anyway, each and every one of the Omicron Six has a moment to shine and be useful, which is great to see.
Some other memorable characters are Evelyn and Everett, the two foster parents of Coupe and Cooper who loved them like their very own. The way they treat the twins is in stark contrast to the way their biological mother treated them. That shows that love is more than blood, love is a powerful connection with another human being regardless of blood.
They are opposed by the villainous Armand Vleiseter, a wealthy 92 year old who wants to exploit the powers of the Omicron Six and sees Coupe's blood as a sort of “fountain of youth” to reverse his aging and return his good health. He is accompanied by his enforcer, Severus. Although he claims that he wants to use Coupe for the good of all humanity, it becomes very clear that it's a self-serving endeavor.
Now, this book had a pretty slow, stop-and-go start in which things just seemed to be happening in the beginning. For example, you get a parent-teacher conference about potential cheating, a bank robbery, and a near-death experience with Everett that gets the police involved and shines suspicion on the boys. However, thankfully, it does all tie together later and the pacing eventually picks up. You just need to have the patience to drive through the opening.
One thing we liked seeing was that the siblings are not perfect little angels from beginning to end, which seemed like they were going to be. There are times they get angry, anxious, sad, or even near-homicidal such as when Cooper, Cory, and Corwin consider killing or maiming their enemies at various times because they feel they deserve it or feel threatened by them. The author puts these characters in moral dilemmas such as: What if you could read the mind of a serial killer before they could kill again? Would you kill them? Would that be right? Would it still be murder?
You could imagine what doing those types of things would do to the Six in terms of their public image: they might be seen as violent, a threat, or a danger.
You can check out this thought-provoking book on Amazon!