Publisher: Book Liftoff
Publication Date: February 11, 2020
I can’t lie, when I first heard of Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator by Michael Scott Clifton, my brain immediately thought of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. While both elevators travel much farther than any elevator known to man, that is where the similarities end. Not to mention, Charlie Bucket isn’t an adolescent genius who invented the great glass elevator.
Edison Jones is like the Iron Man of junior high boys. He has this incredible mind that he uses to create amazing inventions that tend to skew toward military or aerospace applications. And like Iron Man, Edison uses one of his inventions, his anti-grav chair, to improve his quality of life. So that’s where the Iron Man comparison ends. While any kid who hasn’t been to public school before has a similar fear of fitting in and not making friends, amplify that by a thousand when you consider that Edison has no friends or acquaintances of his own age. His struggle with social norms among his peers reminds me of Sheldon Cooper minus the immature quirks. Edison is like a 30 year old man in a 12-year-old body.
All of the junior high scenes played out like a teen movie in my head with each archetype represented. You’ve got Hondo the jock, Carly the cheerleader, and Bree the nerdy girl who is beautiful once the glasses come off. While in my own junior high experience, these four kids wouldn’t be friends in school, much less outside of it; I was able to suspend my disbelief and really came to enjoy their relationship. It was refreshing to see them act outside of their character type as well. Believe it or not, I would have liked to see the bully, Markie Franks, fleshed out more. One minute he’s yelling the typical bad guy, “You haven’t see the last of me!” to using words like “droll” while mimicking a fine art curator to flipping the bird. And then you see him get dropped off in front of a nice home with a perfectly manicured lawn. So many questions…
While the character interactions were very entertaining, I was most impressed with the science in this novel. Clifton really must have a background in science or at least did a lot of research to pull the technology together. I’m no science whiz, but you can just tell when a book has some fantastical gadgets in it that are a little too good to be true. I loved how Edison batmans from his bedroom (replete with goodies like Hunger Games/Sanctum Sanctorum panels) down to a lab that is connected to a Raccoon City-esque labyrinth of LogicTech’s top secret facility. I lapped up all the details and kept thinking, ‘God I hope this becomes a movie someday.’ I think my excitement over each new invention even rivaled Edison and Hondo’s enthusiasm. The only real bummer for me was one scene that was a little too similar to Big Hero 6. It not only used the same technology, but the fake out that led to victory was almost identical.
Overall, I found the book a great pleasure to read. It seems to be aimed at men and boys, but I think that girls would really enjoy it as well. I like that it shows how people are complicated and that there is so much more than what meets the eye. I also feel like it’s a lesson on trusting your gut and not making excuses when life is unfair. I don’t know what Clifton’s intention is, but this book felt like a setup for an exciting series. I sure hope there are more Edison books to come. If not, I will definitely be on the lookout for the next book by this author.
Multi award-winning author Michael Scott Clifton, a public educator for over 38 years as a teacher, coach, and administrator, currently lives in Mount Pleasant, Texas, with his wife, Melanie, and family cat. An avid gardener, reader, and movie junkie, he enjoys all kinds of book and movie genres. His books contain aspects of all the genres he enjoys: action, adventure, magic, fantasy, and romance. His fantasy novels, The Janus Witch and The Open Portal, received 5-Star reviews from the prestigious Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, and he has been a finalist in a number of short story contests, with Edges of Gray winning First Place in the Texas Authors Contest. Professional credits include articles published in the Texas Study of Secondary Education Magazine. Clifton’s latest book, The Open Portal, won a Feathered Quill Book Finalist Award, and launched the fantasy book series, Conquest of the Veil.
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