Review Detail

Kids Fiction 208
Space Adventure Dystopia
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Kyler Centaurus have four obnoxious brothers who play soccer or other sports, while Kyler is more interested in science. He would really like to visit the Fasti Sun Festival, but his parents are against it, since Quasar Niatrix is behind it. Niatrix is a businessman who runs a successful corporation and is fabulously wealthy, but Kyler's dad is always protesting against him. Tired of dealing with his brothers and not getting his own way, Kyler decides to take the family ship and go to the festival by himself. He decides this is a bad idea, but falls asleep at the wheel and accidentally steals the vehicle. He gets to Fasti, where he meets Figerella Jammeslot. Fig is a mutant, which means she is the descendant of people who left Earth to live, mutated to better survive in space, and are now not welcome on the planet without a lot of paperwork. Fig's family contracted to destroy things, but her parents were killed and their ship destroyed. She accepts an assignment from two space pirates, Corpse and Cadaver, to blow up a man made star at the festival. Since she needs a new blaster as well as some money, Fig takes the assignment. She also plans to steal Kyler's ship, so she befriends him. He had already had a run in with the pirates, managing to kick them out of his ship. Soon, the two take off back to earth. Before long, there are all kinds of complications, including meeting up with Captain Holyoake, another mutant who knew Fig's family and tries to convince her to stay away from earth. Kyler's parents keep trying to reach him, and after the news that a star was stolen from the festival and is heading to earth, he finally returns their call. It will take all of Fig's skills and Kyler's determination to save the earth, arrive their safely, and not fall prey to giant dust mites or space explosions!
Good Points
I liked Kyler and Fig, for different reasons. Kyler doesn't fit in with his family, and decides not to take the abuse his brothers give out. He knows that taking the family ship is wrong, and really thinks it through. He is understandably naive, but survives well. Fig is reacting to how her people are treated, and does some things that aren't too nice, but has a core of grief that motivates her to do them. Neither character is perfect, but they are likable despite their actions, due to their backgrounds. That's a hard thing to pull off. There's plenty of space action as well, an understandable plot, and some cool science. Also, Quasar is an excellent evil villain, and Kyler's father's extreme hate of him works into the plot well.

This is a great melding of Dystopia with space adventure. Sure, things are bad on Earth, and people have escaped, but it's not into a Hunger Games sort of scenario where everything is awful. Kyler's family seems to have a decent enough, middle class existence in space, complete with trips to Grandma's and vacations, but there are still problems that need to be addressed.

Fig is an interesting character, and her representation of a minority population that is being mistreated is a timely one. Despite her lack of parents, Fig is succeeding at survival, and it's nice to see her be a little vulnerable and connect with Kyler.

Kyler and Fig's adventures make for a great summer read; if young readers can score an old refrigerator box and make a space ship in which to read the tale, all the better! Read alikes include space adventure books like Levy's Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy, Fry's Jupiter Pirates, McDougall's Mars Evacuees, and Kraatz's Space Runners.
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