The Cloak Society

Middle school readers with a penchant for super heroes and super villains will likely appreciate the conflict presented by Jeramey Kraatz in The Cloak Society.  Set in Sterling City,Texas, the story opens with a description of supervillainy as a passion and a way of life, not something one joins like an after-school club: “It’s not all doomsday devices and dramatic entrances.  All of your days are spent plotting, strategizing, inventing, training” (1) so as to emerge victorious when facing a nemesis.

Early on, readers identify with Alex, a villain with a moral conscience who values life and is terrified of the Gloom, a wretched place created by The Cloak Society where those doomed to exist there never die.  To Alex, it is “purgatory in a cold wasteland” (34).  Alex understands the dangers of domination, superiority, vengeance, and exclusivity, but he’s a villain, and killing is what they do.  So, Alex spends his life in power-training sessions focused on discipline, preparation, and control as he hones his gift of telekinesis.  Alex’s conflicted allegiance, his attachment to Kirbie, and the consequences of his differing views form the core of the novel’s plot.

The Rangers of Justice, who vie for truth and peace, currently  govern Sterling City, but the Cloak Society wants the job and hopes to dethrone their opponents.  Both sides believe the strong were born to govern and that they are destined to right a world gone wrong, but their political and social philosophies are polar opposites.  Alex is convinced that a reverence born from fear is not the hero worship he was looking for in life but neither is the pledge of allegiance that comes from wealth and power.  Having no ambition for conquering and fear mongering, for obedience or obsequiousness, he wants to be a person, not a weapon or a tool for revenge.

When Alex learns how to look at the conflict from the outside, he sees things differently.  Through the course of the novel, Alex must resolve his moral dilemma, define the value of his powers, and determine how to best use them.  In the process, he learns the power of rage.

  • Posted by Donna

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