Novel: The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos; narrated by Kirby Heyborn (8 hours 5 minutes)
Source: Signed hardcover free at BEA; Audio version purchased through Audible
Release Information: May 21, 2013 from Starscape; Audiobook May 21, 2013 from Blackstone Audio.
Summary: The Planet Thieves is the first thrilling installment of a new middle-grade series by Dan Krokos.
Two weeks ago, thirteen-year-old Mason Stark and seventeen of his fellow cadets from the Academy for Earth Space Command boarded theSS Egypt. The trip was supposed to be a short routine voyage to log their required spacetime for summer quarter.
But routine goes out the airlock when they’re attacked by the Tremist, an alien race who have been at war with humanity for the last sixty years.
With the captain and crew dead, injured, or taken prisoner, Mason and the cadets are all that’s left to warn the ESC. And soon they find out exactly why the Tremist chose this ship to attack: the Egypt is carrying a weapon that could change the war forever.
Now Mason will have to lead the cadets in a daring assault to take back the ship, rescue the survivors, and recover the weapon. Before there isn’t a war left to fight.
Thoughts: There are so many great things about this book. First–the way Mason and his friends get into their situation is completely believable. They struggled to take back the ship, but I believed that these kids could do it. Then, when they make contact with adults and find out why their ship was attacked… those adults are CRAZY, so I totally believed that they would condone a last ditch effort led by kids. I also loved a number of the mysteries that were weaved through the story. Some–like who is Merrin and why is the king interested in her–are answered within the book, although those answers give us more questions. Others–like what really happened to Mason’s parents–aren’t resolved and I’m invested enough that I’ll read future books to find out. There is also a crazy amount of action, twists and turns, and tons of cool gadgets.
Everything in that first paragraph meant that I should have loved it. But I didn’t. The characters are well developed and their relationships with each other are complicated. They cared for each other even when they were in conflict with one another. But I never really connected to them. The action was non-stop, the mystery kept me engaged, and I was constantly taken by surprise with where the story went. Still… I could put it down. I’m hoping this is a symptom of not loving the narrator (for this book). I know my nephew will love this story and I’m looking forward to future installments. I think I’ll be reading my paper copy next time, though.
Moments I Loved: I loved the beginning where Mason is introduced as a prankster, even though it didn’t turn out so well. I also loved the end, which made me excited for the next book.
WTF Moments: Krokos is really good at these. There are a number of moments I could pick, but I got unreasonably creeped out when Mason and his friends got to Nori Blue and met Child…. *shudder*
Narrator: The narrator works a lot and he does a good job of making his reading a performance without losing sight (sound?) of the fact that it is still a book reading. I never quite connected with him, but I think that I have a hard time suspending my disbelief on stories about kids that are read by adults.
Overall: I thought this was a really fun adventure. It will appeal to fans of Ender’s Game, but The Planet Thieves was actually written for children.
The Planet Thieves gets a FakeSteph rating of…