Sunday, November 17, 2013

Action-Packed Space Crazy-Time: The Lost Planet Review

Premise: A young boy wakes up in a high-security compound on a strange planet with a head wound and no memory. Soon he learns that his name is Chase and that there is something strange about his ID chip. Desperate to discover his past, Chase embarks on a space adventure.

Title: The Lost Planet
Author: Rachel Searles
Length: 384 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Series or Stand Alone: Possibly book 1 in a new series
Content Appropriate for: grades 4-7
Format: Digital ARC courtesy of Netgalley and the publisher (Macmillan). Due out January 28, 2014.

Three adjectives that describe this book: action-packed, fast-paced, futuristic

Overall I enjoyed The Lost Planet. The plot was very action-driven with lots of chase scenes, near-death escapes, and being captured by the bad guys. As such, it held my interest. However, the characters and world weren't very well developed. Some of the alien species, planets, and technology piqued my interest, but we only got to know them on a surface level. These interesting pieces acted more as props. As someone who absolutely loves world-building, this oversight was terribly disappointing and a bit annoying to me. Still, the plot was engaging and fun.

The book's main characters, Chase and Parker, were rather typical middle grades protagonists, stubbornly believing untruths, even when all evidence implores them to see things differently. I find this type of protagonist very annoying. Most middle graders don't seem to mind characters who are a bit slow on the up-take, so I know these characters will stay prevalent. I just prefer smart characters and authors who trust their reader to figure things out for themselves.

Bottom line: The action in this book will hook readers, especially those who already love space adventures. I think The Lost Planet will appeal to middle graders who enjoy action and have enough sci-fi background knowledge to fill in the gaps in development. There's a lot of potential here, and some surprising twists at the end hint at a sequel. Maybe that one will be more fleshed out.
3 stars

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