Happy Thursday! We are almost to Friday and for those of us in the U.S. it is a holiday weekend! Hang in there, just one more day! To kick off Thursday, I have a great read for you all today. It is a a sci-fi book that has a definite Star Trek feel to it. Don't let the middle grade label fool you, this book packs a punch and it is entertaining for readers of all ages. I had a great time with this book! Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of The Planet Thieves. Here is my review:
The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos
The Planet Thieves is the first thrilling installment of a new middle-grade series by Dan Krokos. Two weeks ago, thirteen-year-old Mason Stark and seventeen of his fellow cadets from the Academy for Earth Space Command boarded the SS Egypt. The trip was supposed to be a short routine voyage to log their required spacetime for summer quarter. But routine goes out the airlock when they’re attacked by the Tremist, an alien race who have been at war with humanity for the last sixty years. With the captain and crew dead, injured, or taken prisoner, Mason and the cadets are all that’s left to warn the ESC. And soon they find out exactly why the Tremist chose this ship to attack: the Egypt is carrying a weapon that could change the war forever. Now Mason will have to lead the cadets in a daring assault to take back the ship, rescue the survivors, and recover the weapon. Before there isn’t a war left to fight.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 21st 2013 by Starscape
Source: Publisher in exchange for an unbiased review
Mason is horrified to hear the alarms sounding while he is on the bridge trying to play a silly prank on his older sister Susan. Quickly, he hides and watches in terror as The SS Egypt is engaged by their enemy the Tremists. Before the action gets dangerous, Susan insists on escorting Mason off the bridge and locking him in the Brig, not only to punish him for his actions, but in her mind it is a great way to keep him safe. Mason refuses to be held prisoner. He resorts to calling on one of his fellow cadets, Tom, for aid. Tom and Mason have not exactly gotten along, but soon the two are thrust together as they are in a fight for their very lives. Can Mason, at thirteen, somehow save the Egypt and his planet?
What I Liked:
- Okay, I admit it, I am a big Star Trek fan. Not to the point that I would dress up and attend a Trekkie convention, but I do love the TV series and the movies. When I picked up The Planet Thieves, I was delighted to find that it read much like a Star Trek episode. It is packed full of adventure and danger and there are deadly aliens, unexplored planets, intelligent computers, advanced weapons and technology and more! I had a lot of fun with this book and I would highly recommend it!
- For all of you adrenaline junkies out there, this book won't disappoint. In the first few pages, the action comes at you with a frenzy. It doesn't let up the entire book! I almost wished that there were a couple more slow scenes just so I could catch my breath. Many of the chapters end on a cliffhanger so you are forced to keep turning the pages. I think this is an excellent read for the younger crowd as it will stir their imagination and encourage them to stick with the book.
- Mason, the main character, at thirteen he is rash, a bit immature and doesn't always stop to think things through, but he has a lot of heart and he is incredibly courageous. He is willing to do what it takes to ensure the safety of the others and the entire human race, for that matter, even if it means paying a great price. I think that he is a character that young readers will really enjoy.
- I appreciated that one of the focuses of the story is upon friendship. Mason has formed a solid bond with a female cadet named Merrin. Mason learns a shocking secret about Merrin that could put her in terrible danger. Mason refuses to let any harm befall his friend, and he goes to great lengths to protect her. I admired his loyalty, especially when it would have been so easy for him to turn his back and resort to hate and prejudice. I also liked the fact that Mason ends up forming a strong relationship with Tom. At the beginning of the story, Mason and Tom aren't exactly friends. They have had a difficult past and even gotten into a squabble. When faced with danger, the two are forced to set aside their differences and learn to work together. This is an important theme in the book as it once again surfaces at the end. I certainly appreciated the positive messages in this one. It is a reminder that we need to set aside our prejudices and work toward a better future!
- This book has illustrations! I loved that there were pictures of some of the things that weren't exactly easy for me to imagine. I am a fan of pictures in books and I wonder why we don't get them anymore in adult books, who says we grow to old for pictures?
- I loved that this one had a solid ending with a couple of exciting hints dropped at the end that will be followed up in the next book. It just goes to show that you can easily generate excitement and interest for the sequel without resorting to the despicable cliffhanger. This book is a great example of how it should be done!
And The Not So Much:
- This book is being billed as a Middle Grade novel. I think that it is best for readers on the older end of the middle grade range. Not because there is anything inappropriate, but more so because the material is a bit complicated. As an adult, I even had a bit of trouble wrapping my mind around the hyper gates and all of that. If I hadn't watched plenty of Star Trek I would have maybe struggled a bit more. Some people may feel like this is a rip off of Star Trek, but I personally liked that it seemed familiar to me since I have watched plenty of Star Trek. Due to the sci-fi elements, I think this is best suited for readers 11 and up.
- At first, I was wondering why the cadets didn't just do away with the Tremists when they were in a fight for their life. I thought it was crazy that they would resort to trapping them and trying to lock them up instead of killing them. However, once I thought it through, I realized that I was reading a book for younger readers and then I appreciated that the author steered away from violence. For all of you parents who are concerned about violent content, this book does have some confrontations and a few characters get beat up. There are some deaths as well, but the majority of the deaths occur from falling. There is nothing graphic or brutal with these scenes. It is mild violence.
- This is the adult reader coming through, I was a tad bit disappointed that there wasn't a romance. I thought that the pieces were in place for a romantic development, but it doesn't go there. Even though, I was let down that there was not a romance, once again I realize this is a book geared toward younger boys and so romance is not what they are looking for in their reading.
Planet of Thieves was a fun, action packed adventure that kept me thoroughly entertained. If you are a fan of sci-fi you are sure to enjoy this book. Don't be fooled by the middle grade label, there is plenty to like in this book for teens and even adults. If you want an adrenaline fueled read and a great adventure definitely get this one, whether it be for you or a younger reader.
“I am not a brave man. But bravery, like most things, can be faked. And sometimes, in rare instances, it will lead to the real thing.”
“With icy clarity, he saw now what the worst part of command was. The glory came by chance, after you made the hard calls.”
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
About the author:
After pumping gas for nine years to put himself through college, Dan Krokos, now twenty-six, dropped out to write full-time. He enjoys watching TV, playing MMORPGs, and drinking coffee. His YA novel, False Memory, debuted from Hyperion in Fall 2012. Currently, he’s hard at work on the next book in the Planet Thieves Series. You can contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr and find him on Goodreads or his website.
Finally, the good stuff: The giveaway! Thanks to the wonderful folks at Tor, who are sponsoring this giveaway, I am able to offer one lucky reader a chance to win a hardback copy of The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos. This giveaway is open to U.S. and Candian residents only. Please see Contest Policies for all details. Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter. Good Luck!
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