“NetGalley delivers digital galleys, often called advance reading copies, or ARCs, to professional readers and helps promote new and upcoming titles. Professional readers–reviewers, media, journalists, bloggers, librarians, booksellers and educators–can join and use NetGalley at no cost.” Netgalley is a special section of my book discussions where I post reviews of the digital books I read through this service. It’s quite amazing the gems you can find. I’ve yet to regret reading a book, even if I don’t like it…
Kara has been selected by an alien race who have come to earth, not to invade and take over or cause mass destruction (though they threaten it) but to take a small group of children aged 12-15 years old back to their planet. Each child must pass horrible physical changes as well as learn to work within a group for a common cause. At Kara’s side is her childhood crush and neighbor Matt and their instructor and Kara’s personal ally Jim, an assimilated teen from another planet pilfered like earth. Will Kara make it to her new world alive?
At times, especially in the beginning I really wondered if I would be able to read this book. Look at this terribly funny passage:
“A world without having to eat vegetables was nirvana. Kara had never seen a salad bar to rival what was before her. She would never feel guilty about not eating peas or broccoli if she ate a daily salad.”
Another valid complaint was the writing is stilted with a mixture of adult language and extreme simplicity. No 14 yo talks or thinks like this!
“With the new segmentation of her team, Kara questioned whether they would be able to help the floundering team. She was ready to raise a white flag and surrender. In the long run, would her team make things worse for the other group of children; and what consequences were associated with a team unable to promote out of Level One?”
Kara’s narrative voice is rather weak in the beginning and what character it did have was distant and whiny, hence I really disliked Kara at first. Also she’d “know” things and tell us them and only after she announced the fact would things happening actually support her conclusion. This is the author telling the character things before they happen, a big no, no! This paired with the writing problems almost sunk the book for me, fortunately all these problems were contained within the first 25% of the book – i.e. in the setup!!
It was the premise and the world building as it is slowly revealed through the setup and beyond that really won me over!! I thought the premise of why the aliens were there was sound. And the science made sense, what was there:
“Earth’s troposphere is seventy-eight percent nitrogen, twenty-one percent oxygen, and one percent argon,” Jim informed her. “We do not have argon in our world, but sarian. That is what we had to condition your lungs to breathe.”
There is a love triangle. She is only 14 years old. There is talk of mating “sometime in the future” and one boy is the perfect societal candidate and the other is the perfect Romeo. I didn’t hate it actually. At 14 you do tend to have a wider range of choices as you aren’t really even close to being an adult and just the fact someone likes you makes your heart flutter! Each boy was given space to develop their relationship with Kara properly and they occupy their own roles in her life. Really these two relationships will be a big catalyst in the next book of the series if developed right!!
Rewriting the beginning would solve many of the books problems. The creativity is there and the execution almost worked. I look forward to the next in the series where hopefully, these problems will no longer trouble the narrative!