Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Escape from Planet Yastol by Pamela Service, illustrated by Mike Gorman

Pamela Service is back with a new beginning chapters science fiction series! Josh isn't heroic or even particularly brave. He thinks his little sister Maggie's obsession with acting and Shakespeare is dumb and although he's mad when she stands up for him, he has to admit he's not really any good at fighting back against bullies. He's perfectly content with winning a writing contest with his science fiction story and daydreaming about the stories he's going to write...if he could just get over his writer's block!

Then the strange blue rubbery aliens show up...and tell Josh his stories are REAL. Suddenly, he and Maggie are trapped on an alien planet with danger on every side. Will Josh remember enough details from his story - and find the courage - to save the day? Will Maggie's acting come in useful after all? Will they be stranded on Planet Yastol forever?

This first installment in a planned series doesn't have quite the delightful touch of the Alien Agent series, which remains a personal favorite of mine. Josh is a much more unsympathetic character, although realistically drawn with his obsessions and dismissal of his sister. The story jumps almost immediately into action and there's really very few "funny bits" which I like to have a generous sprinkling of in all my stories! However, there's plenty of action, interesting characters, and a higher gross quotient which will appeal to those who like a mild ick factor.

Verdict: Although not as pure genius as Alien Agent, this is a good, workable start for a new series. Science fiction, especially for young readers, is almost impossible to find and would-be writers will love this, as will young scifi fans and anyone who likes a good adventure with some goop and creepy creatures.

ISBN: 9780761379188; Published September 2011 by Lerner; Egalley provided by publisher through Netgalley; Purchased for the library

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