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Brainboy and the Deathmaster    by Tor Seidler order for
Brainboy and the Deathmaster
by Tor Seidler
Order:  USA  Can
Laura Geringer, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

It begins like a high-tech Annie, as we meet twelve-year-old Darryl zoned out in an orphanage (the Masterly Children's Center) after the rest of his family is killed in a fire. After scrawny, tattooed Boris shakes him out of his shock by stealing his GameMaster, Darryl is intrigued by a bolted down laptop (there's one in each orphanage room) and begins to play (and ace) its StarMaster game. To gain access to the game, he has to solve a timed maze and answer tough questions. Boris calls him 'brainboy'.

Soon after he meets and befriends BJ (whose mother delivers books and videos to the orphanage) Darryl is suddenly taken from the center by billionaire Keith Masterly himself, and offered the opportunity to 'change the course of human history.' He ends up with other young geniuses in an underground secret think tank called Paradise Lab. Essentially imprisoned, they are supplied with endless luxury and resources, in exchange for participating in research on the 'G-17 project', to discover the secret of eternal youth.

In the meantime, Boris and BJ team up and use all their ingenuity to find out what's happened to Darryl (Boris is also searching for his brilliant sister Nina, who disappeared some time before). Of course, Nina is also in Paradise Lab, and she and Darryl eventually look for a means of escape. They all end up involved in dangerous adventures, in which they must face their deepest fears and worst memories. And when Brainboy does finally beat the Deathmaster, the latter's punishment is a perfect fit for his crimes.

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