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Posted April 12, 2012
Action adventure and intelligence too!
Following on from Explorer X – Alpha, L.M. Preston’s second middle-grade novel in the series stands alone quite effectively with just enough reference to past events to leave readers hoping they’ll find the earlier book. Young teens sent to space camp have found there’s more to themselves and everything else than they’d ever imagined. Genetic manipulation empowers them to transform and fit in with alien societies, breathing the air of foreign worlds and coping with radical extremes of temperature. But they’re still teens, still determined to be human, and still eager to help each other.
In this novel Dakota copes with the guilt he feels at bringing a friend into danger. Meanwhile Aadi learns to live with his mistakes and Eirina deals with fears brought on from remembered pain.
The author has created a fascinating mix of technology and genetics in the premise to this series. Her characters are pleasingly resourceful, convincingly inexpert, and satisfyingly resolved to overcome the odds stacked against them. Civilizations attack the strange and are suspicious of individuality—some nice life lessons stored in there. And innocent games have somehow morphed into war.
Cross Lost in Space with Ender’s Game and the Fantastic Four, then you’ll have something a bit like this book, as teams of child gladiators battle for survival on an alien world. It’s an easy read with fast-flowing adventure, fun dialog, interesting dilemmas, and intriguingly imaginative science, plus a nicely straightforward storytelling technique and just the right amount of backstory. Highly recommended.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review as part of the Lighting Book Promotions tour