The Invitation (Book 1 of Kepler62)

The Invitation (Book 1 of Kepler62)
Co-Authors / Illustrators
  • Bjorn Sortland
Publisher Name
Age Range
Release Date
September 26, 2023
Overpopulation has caused earth’s natural resources to diminish, and people are struggling to survive. Thirteen-year-old Ari is looking after his little brother Joni, who has fallen ill with a mysterious virus. The boys manage to get hold of a copy of Kepler62, the newest computer game that everyone’s talking about and which is supposed to be almost impossible to complete. Working together, the brothers manage the impossible and they soon discover that Kepler62 is more than just a game. It’s an invitation – for an adventure.

Editor review

1 review
Strange conicidences
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
Ari and his little brother Joni are tight as they live alone, waiting for their mother to return. They’re fearful that the government will discover they’re living alone and take them into custody. The phrase “Children have to be allowed to be children” is repeated throughout the story and it comes across as a negative thing. The boys are living in a very controlled society and Ari begins to feel like a prisoner with unseen bars holding them in. This situation creates an “us against them” mentality and Ari becomes skeptical and suspicious about everything. Joni offsets his brother’s attitude with trust and hope. An expedition to another planet is mentioned throughout the book but Ari is certain it has nothing to do with people like his brother and him. They’re just two young boys out of billions of people on the planet.
Kepler62 is a video game that has captured the attention of everyone around the world. No one has been able to pass level 99 so Ari and his brother are determined to accomplish the impossible. Joni gets a copy of the game from a stranger which will make readers wonder about her identity and motive. Who gives a random kid an expensive video game for no reason? The plot gives the impression of a giant conspiracy but those behind it are unknown and their reasons might be good or bad. Ari doesn’t trust the government but are they behind the string of coincidences he’s experiencing or is it some secret group? This uncertainty adds intrigue to the story and generates reader interest.
The book has different qualities that will appeal to emerging readers. The chapters are very short so young readers can feel a sense of accomplishment as they’re completed. The plot moves swiftly as the boys are introduced, they play the game, Joni gets sick, and finally, the boys begin their adventure. Actually, Joni’s illness Illustrations accompany the narrative and help readers visualize the characters. The pictures also help to generate changing tones in the story and a couple of times wordless pages continue the tale through illustrations only.
What didn’t work as well:
The biggest issue is the fact that this book is only the beginning of a series. It sets the stage for future events and then stops. It only introduces the backstory for the plot so most readers will probably will scratch their heads at the end and want more.
The final verdict:
The relationship between Ari and Joni is a highlight but the secret behind their strange experiences is the most interesting part of the story. It seems certain they’ve been targeted for some reason but readers must use their imaginations to explain the uncertainties. Overall, the book is entertaining but the conclusion will be frustrating without possessing the next book in the series.
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