Friday, June 12, 2020

Tom Swift Inventors' Academy #4 The Virtual Vandal

In Tom Swift Inventors' Academy #4, The Virtual Vandal, Swift Academy and two other schools arrive at camp to field-test their inventions.  Soon after camp opens, the Swift Academy students discover that their inventions have been sabotaged!  Unfortunately, everyone thinks that Sam is responsible, since her invention was not damaged.  Tom must uncover the culprit in order to salvage both his friendship with Sam and the competition.

The story is quite science heavy at the beginning, a bit much for my taste.  I wasn't very interested in the early part of the book.  I became very engaged once Tom reaches the camp.

It should be noted that I had just finished reading all seven Harry Potter books, and I never switch easily from one type book to another.  That could have been why I struggled to get into this book.  It's hard to say for sure.

I enjoyed the passage from pages 44 to 49 where Tom's dad gives Tom and Noah some advice about their invention.

Andrew Foger appears on page 58.  This character is a throwback to the old Tom Swift books.  The chapter title is appropriate: "The Nemesis Resurgence."

Fans often say that the old Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books have plots like Scooby Doo.  On page 89, Tom wants to set a trap.  Noah protests, "Who are we, Scooby and Shaggy?"

Noah smirks on page 90.  There are probably a few other smirks.  The smirking doesn't bother me in the boys' books.  With Nancy Drew, I feel differently about it.

I love the virtual reality part of the story.  I was reminded of the Nancy Drew Girl Detective Identity Trilogy, which contains one of the strongest story arcs in the set.  The virtual reality aspect really adds to this book just like it does in that particular Nancy Drew trilogy.

I read the word "trebuchet" and wanted to verify exactly what a trebuchet looks like, even though I thought I remembered.  I found myself reaching towards the page to select the word.  Doh!  I was reading an actual hardcover, not a Kindle edition.  I tapped on words as I read Harry Potter, but I wasn't reading a digital book anymore.  That's what I mean about me having trouble transitioning from one type of book to another.

While I had trouble with the beginning of this book, it is overall very good or better.  The second half of the story is excellent.  In my opinion, this is the strongest story in the latest round of Simon and Schuster's Stratemeyer Syndicate offerings.

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