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“People are getting killed over this equation! Good agents with plenty of training! And I’m only twelve! How could you possibly drag me into this?” Charlie. –Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation
Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation
Charlie Thorne #1
by Stuart Gibbs
Decades ago, Albert Einstein devised an equation that could benefit all life on earth—or destroy it. Fearing what would happen if the equation fell into the wrong hands, he hid it away.
But now, a diabolical group known as the Furies are closing in on its location. In desperation, a team of CIA agents drags Charlie into the hunt, needing her brilliance to find it first—even though this means placing her life in grave danger.
In this adventure that spans the globe, Charlie must crack a complex code created by Einstein himself, survive in a world where no one can be trusted, and fight to keep the last equation safe once and for all.
Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation starts with an epic chase scene and continues the fast-paced adventure until the very end. The story is told from Charlie’s point of view, which makes her relatable despite the fact that she is a genius. Even though she is intelligent, Charlie doesn’t always know what to do. But when it comes to difficult situations, Charlie can visualize numbers in her head, which allows her to solve complicated problems. This talent comes in handy when she uses a cipher to reveal Einstein’s message.
Charlie wants to keep Einstein’s equation out of the hands of terrorists and hostile governments, but she’s not sure the U.S. government can be trusted. Charlie is cynical when it comes to the U.S. government. She says, “America’s priorities are pretty darn clear: The first thing we do with any major discovery is try to kill people with it.”
Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation deals with some mature topics including religious extremism, death, and Charlie’s complicated family life. The intense fight scenes, life-or-death chases, and the death of several characters may upset sensitive readers. In addition, the complicated plot is best suited for strong readers. However, readers who are ready for more mature content will have a hard time putting the book down because of the action and mystery.
Charlie’s journey takes readers on a suspenseful trip that will keep readers guessing until the very end. Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation will entertain mystery fans. At the end of Charlie’s adventure, she realizes that “all the talent in the world doesn’t mean a thing if you squander it.” The conclusion wraps up all of the story threads and also leaves readers wanting to know what will happen next. Readers will be eager to pick up the next book in the series, Charlie Thorne and the Lost City.
- Charlie teases her brother Dante, saying, “Jeez, you might know a whole lot about terrorist cells, but you don’t know much about women. That was a full-on ‘I wish Dante would say to heck with the regulations and just kiss me’ look.”
- Dante tells Charlie to go to bed, but she will have to share the bed with his partner agent Milana. Charlie says, “You’re sure you wouldn’t rather be in there with her? You could do a little smooching before bed.”
- At Einstein’s request, his friend Ernst began burning Einstein’s papers. Ernst “continued feverishly stroking the flames, even as he heard the men break down the front door and shove Helen aside, even as they burst into the room and pulled their guns and screamed at him to stop, right up until their leaders clubbed him from behind, crumpling him to the floor.”
- Charlie wants to steal the pool guy’s truck. When he refuses to give her the key, Charlie “lashed out a leg and swept the pool guy’s legs out from under him. . . He slipped and landed flat on his back.” Charlie shoves the guy into the hot tub and then takes off.
- The KGB captures an American spy, who “cowardly offered secrets in return for his life. The old man and his fellow agents listened as the American spilled his guts—and then they killed him anyhow.”
- The narration states, “The world’s most infamous serial killers had all been unimpressive losers who had been unsuccessful at just about everything except murdering helpless people.”
- A terrorist steals one of Einstein’s books. When “the young archivist instinctively moved to protect it. . . he [Marko] punched the archivist in the face, then drilled a fist into his stomach as he reeled backwards. The archivist went down, whacking his head on a table. . .”
- Charlie tries to get Einstein’s book back. She grabs a skateboard and jumped on a railing. “Then she rode down quickly grinding along the rail, bearing down on Marko . . Charlie bounced off the railing, hitting Marko with the full force of her body. The two of them tumbled across the asphalt.”
- When Marko recovers, he “lowered his shoulder and rammed into her [Charlie]. . .He knocked the wind out of her while sending her falling backward into the trunk of a parked car. The trunk caught her. . . sending a lightning bolt of pain up her spine.”
- Marko tries to escape Charlie but she uses the skateboard to trip him. “He flew forward, the rage on his face now giving way to surprise. . . Marko plowed headfirst into a lamppost, hitting so hard that the sound rang across the parking lot. . .She grabbed a handful of his hair, and with a surge of adrenaline and rage she’d never known she had, she slammed his head back into the lamppost again.” One of Marko’s companions kills him and then tries to kill Charlie. The chase scene is described over six pages.
- In order to escape Dante, Charlie “drove her knee into her brother’s crotch.” Dante runs after her. “Charlie was thrown several feet by their combined momentum and crashed into a kiosk selling fresh fruit.” Dante wrestles her to the ground and drags her to a safe house.
- When entering the safe house, the terrorist attacks Dante and Charlie. Dante is “beaten down and a gun was pressed against her [Milana’s] head.” One of the terrorists “kicked Dante in the stomach so hard it made Dante curl into a ball.” In order to escape the terrorist, Charlie“grabbed the mug and smashed it on Alexei’s temple, sending him reeling. Then she threw it at Vladimir, hitting him in the face.” As Charlie and Milana run, Charlie can hear the sound of fighting and guns being fired.
- As Charlie and Milana try to escape, Dante “fired down, directly through the floor. There was a scream of pain from below, and then Dante dove away as more bullets tore upward through the floor. . .” The fight with the terrorists is described over 20 pages.
- The terrorists kill a CIA agent. A terrorist says, “The brown man? He’s dead. We tossed him in the bathroom.”
- When Charlie and Milana run from the terrorists, Charlie runs into a fruit stand. “The owner grabbed her arm roughly and raised a hand to strike her . . .” Milana stops the man and “wrenched the man’s arm so hard that he howled in pain, releasing Charlie.”
- When the terrorists catch up to Charlie and Milana, Charlie threw chili powder into a man’s eyes. “Oleg roared in pain and stumbled forward blindly. Milana spun around and drove a knee into his crotch, folding the man like a hinge.” Charlie throws boiling water in a terrorist’s face. The scene is described over two pages. Both Charlie and Milana escape.
- The CIA looks at the security video from the safe house. An “unknown figure . . . shot both of the agents before they could even react.”
- While leaving a church, “three of the pilgrims pounced on her [Milana], knocking her to the ground. . .” Charlie was hit and “her legs were swept out from under her, her face was slammed into the cobblestones, and a gun was pressed against the back of her head.” Then the Mossad arrested them.
- In order to free Milana and Charlie from the Mossad, Dante shoots one man “in the shoulder, spinning him and dropping him to the ground.” The Mossad lets the two go free, but then there is a high-speed chase.
- In a multi-chapter conclusion, Alexei, a rogue CIA agent, the Mossad, and Charlie’s group race to get Einstein’s work. The rouge agent shoots and kills a man sitting in a car. Agents shoot at each other and someone points a gun at Charlie’s head.
- Milana tries to catch Charlie, but “bullets stitched the earth around her, and she felt a sting as one caught her thigh. . . The bullet had only nicked her, although it still hurt like heck.”
- The rogue CIA agent, John, catches up to Charlie. Charlie punches John. “The punch caught him off guard, but he rolled with it and then came in low. He drove his fist into Charlie’s solar plexus, then caught her with another blow that floored her.” A bullet hits a propane tank and there is a strong explosion. “The explosion roared over her [Charlie] and blasted John off his feet, slamming him into a tree with such force that his bones snapped. . . His spine had been broken when he had been thrown into the tree. . . John felt a sudden rush of heat and smelled something burning close by. . . Within seconds, the flames leapt up all around him. John screamed, but no one heard him.”
- While trying to flee Jerusalem, Milana and Dante have to get by the security guards. “The CIA agents caught the poor security agents by surprise, rendering them unconscious within seconds.” Then the terrorists show up and open fire. “The CIA agents emptied their guns. One after the other the Furies screamed in pain and dropped. Alexei was the last to go.” When one of the Furies shoots toward a fuel tanker and “emptied his clip. . . The tanker exploded. A ball of fire raced toward the plane. . .” Charlie, Milana, and Dante escape. Three people die. The scene is described over seven pages.
Drugs and Alcohol
- When Albert Einstein was gravely ill, his doctor gave him morphine.
- Alexei goes into a bar and talks to a man who has been drinking. “At first Alexei thought the [man’s] story might be the ravings of an alcoholic.”
- Einstein’s friend believed he had failed Einstein. A few months after Einstein’s death, his friend died in an alcohol-related death.
- Several men who are part of a group of terrorists have been in jail for drunk driving. One of the men spent time in jail because of public intoxication.
- After a fight with a terrorist, Charlie takes ibuprofen for the pain.
- The terrorist discovers a man works for the CIA and, “The Furies, drunk and vengeful, had shown no mercy. . .the Furies were brutal.” The CIA agent’s body was unrecognizable.
- The story has a lot of name calling including: creep, idiot, jerk, slimeball, and stupid punk. For example, Charlie calls a pool guy a “sexist jerk.”
- Crap is used four times. For example, Charlie drove her friend’s “crappy car.”
- Charlie tells a CIA agent, “I nearly killed myself trying to save your stupid butt. What kind of idiot jumps in front a moving truck?”
- God is used as an exclamation once.
- Damn is used once.
- Alexei is planning on bombing a large city “teeming with people of inferior races. . . He would destroy them all. The day was close. Alexei knew it. God had willed it.”
- Alexei believes that immigrants are “rats” and his job is to wipe them out. “God had chosen him to do it.”
- While trying to escape the terrorists, Charlie was “praying her math was right.”
- Charlie “wasn’t religious . . . And now, here she was sitting inside one of the most important churches on earth. It occurred to her that maybe she should take that as a sign and pray for Dante.”
- Einstein “didn’t believe God played dice with the universe.”
- Charlie thinks about God and Einstein. “Einstein had been a religious man, but he had claimed the God he favored was that of Baruch Spinoza, who had declared, ‘God is in the details, the beauty, the math of the world.’”
- While looking for Charlie, Alexei, “Prayed to God that he would get to Charlie Thorne before the Mossad.” When Alexei finds Charlie, he thinks, “God smiled on him again.”