*I received a complimentary copy of this book, and I’m leaving a voluntary review*
Finally a new post and a new book review! Sorry about the long wait (if there are anyone out there who’s waiting for this?), but Christmas and New Year’s and all that mush just takes you away from everything. I always think I’m going to get time off, time to relax, sit down and read a book, then suddenly I wake up screaming in a daze and it’s the middle of January. Anyways, on with it.
Plot: Aben, a young boy is taken to space by magical aliens. Fight for peace in the universe ensues.
Longer version: Aben lives with his nanny and his father, a military general, in a huge house. He goes to school, comes home, does homework, and not much happens. Until a new neighbor moves in. She’s an alien, sent to recruit Aben, due to his special lineage. He decides to join her in leaving for another planet, meets lots of alien races, and is given special powers. Aben together with Nastera (the neighbor alien), team up with, lots of other young people (children at least, being aliens they could be super old), and eventually also recruits his own father to take up the fight against the evil General Warnod. Along the way, Aben also learns what happened to his mother (who was pressumed dead/had disappeared years ago), and the truth about his grandfather.
Review: I really liked the book. It was funny, adventurous, and exciting. It’s very much a coming-of-age story for Aben, who never had any friends back on Earth, and it fun to read about how he was building relationships with the people he met, and how he was coping with learning about his life, his mother and grandfather and all his new abilities. His powers are inherent in his DNA, a link between his mother and grandfather, and it’s very much a side-quest of the book to figure out why his mother was taken or why she left when Aben was young, and who his grandfather really is.
There’s a mix of magical and sci-fi elements which I always love in books, combining them, or twisting them up against each other, making them linked. It’s usually always the case and a stereotype that magic/fantasy is set in a past-type world, whereas sci-fi is in the future, so I appreciate any story that can tear that idea down (in a logically way of course).
The book was easy to read, and I felt like it could easily be targeted at younger audiences, both because most of the protagonists are young, and because there are few if any adult themes.
Issues: I had two issues with this book, the first being the pace. When Aben meets Nastera, they talk for about two minutes before she asks him if he believes in magic, to which he replies, “meh, probably” (not a direct quote 😉 ) and then she whisks him off to space to another planet. Aben also seems to come to terms with everything that’s happening very fast, as does his father, and I’d loved to see a bit more tension between trying to figure what the hell is going on, instead of just going along with it. Secondly, Aben’s powers (and everyone else’s for that matter) seem far too powerful. They can fly, run at the speed of light, be invisible, read thoughts, relay messages telepathically, and whenever there’s something they can’t do, Aben seems to always have just been granted the exact power he needs to fulfill whatever mission he’s on. I felt it broke the story a bit in that there didn’t ever seem to be much threat to any of them. The only thing that was affected by this was Aben’s ego and ambition, and several people often told him to slow down, and not rush into things, but even then, he never cared and it never had consequences. But all of this might just be a part of the book being written for a younger audience (if it is, I’m not definitely sure if it is).