Review: “Accidental Evil,” Ike Hamill

Pros: I love the idea of performing ‘accidental’ evil
Cons: The tech angle doesn’t quite mesh with the rest of it
Rating: 3 out of 5

Ike Hamill’s Accidental Evil is about fifteen-year-old Ricky, who really wants to amaze people with a magic show after the town’s annual parade. He’s found a new trick–levitation–and it looks awfully real. Soon that small trick will cost the town nearly everything as terror and death come to roost. The town gets cut off (vehicles won’t start, the phones crap out, and no one can reach the internet) and people start acting strangely.

 

There were too many characters to keep up with. In particular I kept losing track of which parents went with which children.

I’m not thrilled with the whole notion of mental-illness-as-magic. While it makes sense that someone with a mental illness might see things others don’t, it’s turning into a cliche. I also like it better when there’s at least a rationale for why a particular kind of illness might result in a specific awareness or lack thereof–here, the two characters with emotional ‘difficulties’ are just mysteriously more aware of what’s going on. It’s a cop-out.

The town ends up with some weird infestation of robotic bugs; some people manage to avoid them, while others fall prey to their influence. Given how many of them there were, I was sometimes surprised that things weren’t even more difficult for the good guys.

I really liked what we learn as the story nears its end–obviously I’m not going to give any details/spoilers. I’ll just say that I quite enjoyed where this book went, and the author had some unusual and interesting ideas. It’s certainly enough that I plan to read some of his other books.

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