Book Review: Little Miss Evil by Bryce Leung and Kristy Shen

21839656Title: Little Miss Evil
Authors: Bryce Leung and Kristy Shen
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Age Group: Middle Grade
Rating: 3,5 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When you live in a volcano, ride to school in a helicopter, and regularly see your dad on the news with the caption “EVIL GENIUS” underneath his picture, it takes a lot to rattle you.
Until you get a message that says: We have your father. Deliver the NOVA in 24 hours or we will kill him.
What’s a NOVA you ask? It’s a nuclear bomb capable of turning the city into a radioactive mushroom cloud, and ever since Fiona’s dad built it, it’s caused nothing but grief. But telling him to stop building weapons is like telling Michelangelo to stop painting.
And that’s why thirteen-year-old Fiona has a flamethrower strapped to her arm. After all, who’d mess with a girl who can throw fireballs?
Apparently, these guys. Big mistake.

Little Miss Evil is an original, entertaining story about Fiona, the daughter of a supervillain, or evil genius if you will, who lives in a vulcano, spends her days with her dad’s minions/soldiers/army and his newest inventions (including an arm that shoots fire for her thirteenth birthday) and in short, is anything but normal. It’s the first story I’ve read featuring this premise, and it was definitely unique and entertaining.

After Fiona gets her birthday present, everything starts going wrong. Her dad’s enemies (another supervillain) attack, and they manage to kidnap her dad. Now it’s up to Fiona to lead her army into battle and save her dad. But then their enemies send them a message: give them the NOVA (a nuclear bomb that could turn the city into radioactive ashes) or they will kill her dad. Fiona asks her friends (fellow supervillains’ kids, since no one else will talk to her at school) for help. But can she save her dad, without giving them the NOVA?

So, the story was fun and entertaining, and sometimes I even laughed out loud. Middle graders will love Fiona’s humor, the flamethrowers, the submarines, and everything that makes these supervillains engaging. Fiona is fun, too. She struggles with being the kid of a villain, and she wants to be an ordinary person – she’s not sure if she ever wants to be a supervillain herself. She’s easy to relate to, and her personality makes her a good protagonist for this kind of book (where the main character could’ve easily been evil too, which is harder to relate to).

But…the book’s major flaw is its lack of characterization. Fiona has a personality, but most of the other characters lack one. Even her dad lacks real personality, and so do her friends and just about any other secondary characters. Ruby could’ve been awesome, but she too didn’t have much of a personality, so she didn’t stand out at all and turned out to be rather bland.

The story is simple and straightforward, but it’s entertaining all the same, and I don’t mind those traits in a middle grade book. The book sure has humor, too. So really the only thing I can complain about would be the lack of characterization for everyone except Fiona, but don’t let that stop you from reading this one. It’s like Despicable Me, but from the POV of a kid.

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