Rebel Genius

Rebel Genius

Book - 2016
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In twelve-year-old Giacomo's Renaissance-inspired world, art is powerful, dangerous, and outlawed. Every artist possesses a Genius, a birdlike creature that is the living embodiment of an artist's creative spirit. Those caught with one face severe punishment, so when Giacomo discovers he has a Genius, he knows he's in big trouble.
Publisher: New York : Roaring Brook Press, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250129741
Characteristics: 370 pages : illustrations, maps ; 22 cm


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Jason Lu
Feb 16, 2018

I loved Avatar the Last Airbender, so I naturally gravitated towards this book. The book has very similar elements--no pun intended--to Avatar the Last Airbender. You have a child protagonist, joined by other child protagonists, who all have mystical abilities. They go on a treacherous journey to find an ancient relic, and there are enemies along the way.

This is a great book for an elementary school student to get into. It's a pretty easy read, not a lot of complicated phrases or vocabulary. It's also a great book to read if you're an artist-type, or one who appreciates art.

forbesrachel Sep 13, 2017

Young Giacomo has lived most of his life alone in the sewers in order to evade the totalitarian regime in the Zizzolan Empire, and practice his art. He loves to draw, but creating art has been outlawed, as were the Genius (bird-like beings who are the physical embodiment of one’s inspiration). This brave boy’s life drastically changes though on the day that his own Genius appears. From there on out, he and his newfound friends must race against the clock to learn the art, find one of the Creator’s own tools before their enemies do, and uncover the secret behind Giacomo’s origins. By the end, the story is nicely wrapped up, but has enough threads left for the next book to explore. The Renaissance-influenced setting, and sacred geometry-inspired magic, gives Rebel Genius a distinct look and feel when compared to other Fantasy stories that are written for middle-graders. In addition to his fairly solid explanations of how things look and work, the author has included drawn illustrations throughout; these really help with our visualization, and are quite a welcome sight in a book dedicated to the theme of creativity. Like with his work in Avatar: the Last Airbender, and the Legend of Korra, DiMartino demonstrates his talent at portraying opposing ideologies through his world and cast. In this case, there are those who believe that people should be free to create whatever they want, even if it defies the natural or god-made order, and on the opposite side are those who see this ability to create as a powerful tool, one which should only be used by a select few. Giacomo is the one that sits between these two ideas, and gets swayed by arguments from both sides. He is the most built up at this point; without this, he would have been another bland “chosen one”. However, many of the characters are at least given a good foundation which would be easy to develop later on. Rebel Genius shows hints of genius, and is certainly one to recommend to fans of Fantasy series like Harry Potter, and those who are more generally interested in the arts.


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