The Hypnotists

Gordon Korman. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-545-50322-8
The fast-paced first volume in Korman’s Hypnotists series introduces some historical conspiracies worthy of Dan Brown. In Korman’s world, famous events from the Hindenberg disaster to the Lewis and Clark expedition were influenced by hypnotists, people with a genetic gift that allows them to control others’ minds. Twelve-year-old Jackson “Jax” Opus is starting to notice that people sometimes do what he says without thinking about it, and that he has strange visions when this happens. After a run-in with a stage hypnotist, he is recruited to the Sentia Institute, run by Dr. Elias Mako, friend to politicians and movie stars alike. Jax starts training his natural skills, but an encounter with another hypnotist, former con artist Axel Braintree, persuades him that there’s more to both his own family history and to Sentia. Korman (the Swindle series) delivers an entertaining mix of intense action and goofy fun; he isn’t afraid to raise the stakes when necessary, and he makes the moral murkiness of mind control apparent to characters and readers alike. The ending wraps up some loose ends, but leaves plenty for future books. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/17/2013
Release date: 07/30/2013
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