cover image The Vindico

The Vindico

Wesley King. Putnam, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-25654-7

Five teens are kidnapped and trained to be supervillains in King's high-concept but one-dimensional debut novel. The titular group of villains wants a new generation of teens to help them fight the League of Heroes, so they kidnap five generally good kids (James, Lana, Hayden, Emily, and Sam). As the teens endure a rigorous training regimen, they confront their own insecurities, faults, and fears; a romance blooms between two of the captives, and a rivalry is sparked. The flaws in the Vindico's plan soon become apparent as the captives challenge the villains' authority and their new mission, resulting in a hasty conclusion. King's characters are reasonably well-drawn; the book's most compelling elements revolve around the reasons why each teen was selected to become a supervillain and the psychological tactics that the Vindico use to make them emotionally vulnerable and susceptible to coercion. But narrative tension is lessened by scant world-building, lackluster dialogue, and conventional plot elements, resulting in an entertaining but predictable story. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. Agents: Brianne Johnson and Susan Cohen, Writers House. (June)