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Posted December 18, 2012
A Coming of Age is a strange story by Timothy Zahn, an author fa
A Coming of Age is a strange story by Timothy Zahn, an author famous for his science fiction. In this tale, he creates an upside down society where adults live in fear of children. He then mixes in a detective story, a coming of age story for a school kid, a kidnapping, a science experimentation plot, and a child labor scam artist. It’s an interesting combination for a young adult story.
First off, let’s tackle the setting. Sometime in the past, a generation ship arrived and colonized the planet. The inhabitants ran into a strange side effect while on the planet: the kids gain super powers at the age of five. Specifically, the children gain the power of telekinesis, or teekay, which allows them to fly and to move any objects they can see or touch. They’re so powerful that adults are helpless to stop them. This situation creates an environment where adults live in fear of children.
There is a counterbalance to the super powers, however. When the kids reach puberty, they go through the Transition and lose their powers, their teekay. Thus everyone turns normal as they grow up. In order to keep the preteens inline, society created a system where the kids are placed in daycares called hives. They are raised to respect authority and are forbidden any education involving reading or writing. Older preteens are used to enforce the rules on the younger kids. Thus society lives on with a degree of stability.
The core of the story is centered on a preteen named Lisa. She’s an overachiever worried about puberty and the Transition. She desperately wants an advantage that will lessen the stress of all the changes. Alongside her story thread is detective Tirrell and his righthand Tonio. They start off tracking down a smuggling racket and quickly get side tracked into a kidnapping case. Then there’s a scientist and his young test subject who are trying to break the rules of this planet and its weird mutational side effects. All of these plots merge together into a fairly fun and interesting story.
The content and focus of the book is a perfect fit for the young adult market. If you are looking for good, clean, safe fiction, then this fits the bill. It’s also very different and very unique, which works well in keeping the reader engaged. All in all it’s an appealing story and I give it a three out of five.
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Posted November 23, 2010