Masterminds: Payback (Masterminds #3)

Masterminds: Payback (Masterminds #3)
Age Range
Release Date
March 07, 2017
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The thrilling finale to the New York Times-bestselling Masterminds series from middle grade star author Gordon Korman. Perfect for fans of Rick Riordan and James Patterson.

After a serious betrayal from one of their former friends, the clones of Project Osiris are on the run again. Now separated into pairs, Eli and Tori and Amber and Malik are fighting to survive in the real world.

Amber and Malik track down the one person they think can help them prove the existence of Project Osiris, notorious mob boss Gus Alabaster, also known as Malik’s DNA donor. But as Malik gets pulled into the criminal world—tantalized by hints of a real family—his actions put him and Amber into greater danger.

Eli and Tori get sucked into even bigger conspiracies as they hunt down Project Osiris’s most closely guarded secrets—who does Eli’s DNA come from? With a surprising new ally and another cross-country adventure, the four will have to work together to overcome the worst parts of themselves if they are going to end Project Osiris once and for all.

Editor review

1 review
Girl Scout Cookies for Thought
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We left the children of Serenity in several bad situations in Criminal Destiny, (the adventure starts with Masterminds) and we pick up right where we left off. Amber and Malik are trying to escape the Serenity police, and are rushing down rapids, only to end up on the top of a truck speeding down the highway! Tori and Eli are also on the run, and end up finding a bit of comfort at a warehouse full of Girl Scout cookies, some of which they sell to get some money for their adventures. Malik finds out that the criminal from whom he is cloned, Gus Alabaster, has been released from jail because he is dying, and hunts him down. Gus believes that Malik is his long lost son because of the resemblance, and so a fair amount of time is spent doing errands and hanging out with Gus. Tori and Eli head to California in search of an actor who bears a striking resemblance to Eli, and uncover some very odd information about his cloning. When the children can't get any satisfaction from Tamara Dunleavy, who still feels she wasn't being evil, and see a news report that a criminal who has been in jail for twenty years is linked to a crime in a resort in the Bahamas, the group realizes that the adults who were running Project Osiris have escaped New Mexico and are hanging out in luxury. Using their criminal skills to charter a plane with stolen money and to liberate a boat to take them to the island, Malik, Tori, Eli and Amber find the other children. What is the best thing to do when you are a clone of a criminal being raised by morally suspect scientists?
Good Points
Korman knows his way around adventure and humor, and both are worked into Payback in amusing ways. When you're in a rural area, is it a good idea to steal motorcycles from a biker gang? Why not?! If you've been tossed about in river rapids, is plopping down on top of a speeding truck a good idea? Absolutely! While most tween readers (hopefully!) won't get a chance to have adventures like this, it's fun to imagine, and Korman has a great feel for what will amuse middle grade readers.

The world building for Project Osiris and Serenity is very complete, and the children's adventures while trying to locate the criminal from whom they were cloned are both exciting and intriguing. The twist with the Hollywood actor was one that I didn't see coming.

Adventure tales that weave in a bit of science fiction or fantasy are always appealing, and the Masterminds series will be enjoyed by readers of Peterfreund's Omega City, Salane's Lawless or Salerni's The Eighth Day. All of these tales pique the imagination and are great to think about while walking to school-- not that I have ever plotted how to escape mad scientists on MY walk in to work!

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