Title: The Planet Thieves
Author: Dan Krokos
Length: 256 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Series or Stand-Alone: This is the first book in a new series
Content appropriate for: Grades 3-8
Format: Digital ARC from Macmillan-Tor/Forge via Netgalley.com
3 adjectives that describe this book: page-turner, futuristic, nerdy
First things first... I LOVED this book! The Planet Thieves is pure science fiction - set on a space ship, fighting aliens, far in the future. You don't find many books like this for the MG crowd. And this one is a page-turner from start to finish. As a girl who grew up watching every incarnation of Star Trek (though Next Generation and Voyager are my favorites), I felt right at home in this book. Dan Krokos taps into established elements of the genre - we spend a lot of time on "the bridge" and the characters even use tractor beams! The Planet Thieves made my nerdself sing happy songs.
Okay, enough praise - let's get to the book itself. The Planet Thieves follows Mason Stark, a 13 year old cadet. He's about halfway through the process of training to become a member of Earth Space Command (think: Starfleet Academy). As part of the learning process, cadets spend the summer aboard an actual ESC vessel. Everything's going well until the Tremist make an appearance. Apparently, humans have only made contact with one alien race at this point (the year is approximately 2800). The Tremist and humans have been at war for over 60 years, each desperate to claim and colonize the only other inhabitable planet in the galaxy.
This space adventure is so full of exciting plot twists that I have to stop the summary there. Let's just say that the Earth ship is holding more than just officers and cadets... and the Tremist want what's on board.
The plot of The Planet Thieves is fast-paced and completely engrossing. There is a palpable sense of danger and every character is at risk. I especially love how the main characters face one obstacle after another. Just when I thought the primary conflict was wrapping up, a new one would emerge that was equally compelling. This combination of factors kept me reading into the wee hours, way past my bed time!
Oh - and did I mention that there are Space Wizards in this book!?!? Yep.
* Dan's editor describes the process of coming up with that eye-catching cover
* Author Dan Krokos explains how he came up with the idea for The Planet Thieves