Book Review: The Cloak Society by Jeramey Kraatz
The Cloak Society by Jeramey Kraatz
Published October 2nd 2012 by HarperCollins
Format: Kindle ebook
Length: 288 pages / 438 KB
Genre: Adventure, Superheroes, Kids
Reading Level: Middle Grade
Goodreads | Amazon
The Cloak Society: An elite organization of supervillains graced with extraordinary powers.
Ten years ago they were defeated by the Rangers of Justice and vanished without a trace. But the villains of Cloak have been biding their time, waiting for the perfect moment to resurface. And twelve-year-old Alex Knight wants to be one of them.
Alex is already a junior member, and his entire universe is Cloak’s underground headquarters, hidden beneath an abandoned drive-in theater in Sterling City, Texas. While other kids his age are studying math and history, Alex is mastering his telekinetic powers and learning how to break into bank vaults. His only dream is to follow in his parents’ footsteps as one of the most feared supervillains in the world. Cloak is everything he believes in.
But on the day of his debut mission, Alex does the unthinkable: he saves the life of a young Ranger named Kirbie. Even worse . . . she becomes his friend. And the more time he spends with her, the more Alex wonders about the world outside of Cloak–and what, exactly, he’s been fighting for.
The Cloak Society by Jeramey Kraatz is another fantastic book I really should have gotten off my butt and read sooner. I couldn’t resist this middle grade book. I mean, come on! A superhero story told from the angle of the super villain? Who could pass that up, I ask you? I have to say that I was a little blown away with this book merely because it deals with some pretty serious stuff (or at least that’s what I got from it) and I’m not even quite sure Kraatz meant for The Cloak Society to be as serious as it turned out for me.
I was surprised when I started seeing themes of brainwashing and manipulation and the morality of killing your opponent in a middle grade superhero novel. The adults of The Cloak Society are out for revenge and domination and have turned their own children into weapons and sacrificial lambs. The children are brainwash into following Cloak’s agenda. Those who are not powered are treated like second class citizens and basically slaves. The prejudice and elitism is discomforting to read. Alex, our protagonist, struggles with his own morality and the concept of the innocent bystander and collateral damage and what it really means to be a hero or a villain. He has his eyes very forcible opened to exactly what his parents are prepared to do to take over Sterling City. I was very surprised to see such serious themes and I’m not sure if Kraatz meant to sneak those in there or if I’m just thinking about it too hard.
That being said, I loved the book. I enjoyed the unique perspective of reading a story told from the villain’s point of view. Alex is an excellent protagonist and his struggles are believable. He doesn’t suddenly turn good overnight, or because of a pretty girl (gag), but he goes through an evolution where he is exposed to other points of view and comes to his own conclusions. The bank robbery is Alex’s first foray into the real world outside of the Cloak headquarters and now he sees beyond the doctrine his parents have been feeding him all his life. Titan and Julie are a bit lackluster, being just the stereotypical bullies. Mallory is a nice, complicated character and Kirbie isn’t too annoying with her bubbly, self-righteous attitude. Altogether, a nice cast of characters.
I don’t know if the author meant for such seriousness to sneak into a children’s book but I am pleasantly surprised at the quality of The Cloak Society by Jeramey Kraatz. It deals with some serious themes and I think comes off better for it. I’m hoping for a quick sequel so I can know what happens now that the children are on their own, abandoned by Cloak and bereft of guidance from the now trapped in the Gloom Rangers of Justice. I want to see how Alex continues to evolve. After all, don’t you think Knight would make the perfect superhero name?