King, Wesley. The Incredible Space Raiders From Space
February 10th 2015 by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Jonah Hillcrest is doing homework in his living room... and then he wakes up aboard the Fantastic Flying Squirrel, where he is unceremoniously informed by a girl named Willona that he has been forcibly recruited as a Space Raider and is on his way to fight Entirely Evil Things, which prey on people's fears and emotions, so only children can fight, since they have fewer. Not only is there a threat to the galaxy, but the crew of the Squirrel is hostile toward the children, and there is a monster, the Shrieker, who is attacking raiders. Jonah is provided with a uniform, a room, horrible protein bars, and a diary, and told that this is now his job, although he would really rather go home and feels there is some kind of mistake. When more and more children start disappearing, he goes on the hunt and finds Sally, a girl from the first of the seven missions, who has been hiding in the ship. It turns out that most of the children were orphans, plucked from the streets or various orphanages, and Jonah really begins to suspect that he is NOT supposed to be there. It turns out he's not, and that the space raiders are not at all what they are purporting to be.
Strengths: Has some good premises-- children fighting evil, space travel, something loose in the ship. The characters on the cover are portrayed as multicultural, which I must have missed in any descriptions in the book, but which is a nice touch. There was a tiny bit of romance. I did buy a copy.
Weaknesses: At first, I thought this had an air of a YA writer writing down to younger readers. Entirely Evil Things? Really? It turns out there is a reason for the sort of hokey premise, but it still portrayed a rather negative space experience.
What I Really Think: Jonah was understandably sad about leaving home. He was sad about kids disappearing. He was sad about the evil crew and the eventual bad with the Entirely Evil Things. This would have been more successful for me if he had been all excited about space travel and the kids on the ship did fun and exciting things. Too much sadness for an adventure book. Really, what is the point of going to space if there isn't a holodeck, hot aliens, and a food synthesizer that can make you a steak and baked potato out of kale every single meal?
Okay. HOW many years into the 100 Year Winter are we? Clearly, the White Witch must be stopped. It is well below zero again, and my school is on a two hour delay, which means testing is moved again. On the bright side, I finally get to see all of the 6th grade students for books today.
I even told my daughter that she could DRIVE to school, because it was so cold when I walked in. Here's what I wore to walk a mile to school:
Tights, running tights, fleece pants, cotton socks, wool socks
wool skirt, wool turtleneck, wool blazer
Lands End winter jacket, cowl, cotton scarf, glove liners, ski gloves, ski boots
Basically, the only part of me exposed was my eyes, and any tears immediately turned to ice on my eyelashes! I can't even wear my glasses because they fog up under the scarves! So, yeah, it was COLD!