Monday, December 08, 2014

MMGM- The Black Stars

Krokos, Dan. The Black Stars
October 14th 2014 by Starscape
Copy received from publisher.

After The Planet Thieves, Mason is off at school, getting into trouble with the evil Marcus, when he is summoned by Grand Admiral Shahbazian and told that he is being sent to Rhadgast school on Skars to try to find out if they are up to something. His friend Tom goes with him, and the first person they meet is Merrin, so Mason feels a bit relieved. Merrin is spending most of her time working for the Coalition for Life, so Mason and Tom get thrown right into life at school. They gets implants so they can speak the language, and befriend Po, who shows them around. The teachers are a little reluctant to train them, but the boys actually fare better than they were at human school! That is, until students start disappearing. Of course, the boys are suspect, but Mason has been honest with his teacher, Reckful, and told him that he is there to spy, as well as to learn about the fate of his parents. He's particularly successful with the last bit... his mother is not dead, but is working at the school because she is trying to find an antidote to Tremist venom. The Rhadgast's have better technology, and the mission is important to her because Mason's father has been turned by the Tremists, and with the school under attack, finding a cure is even more crucial. Mason is also on a quest to find Anamore's gloves, which are like the ones he was given in the first book but much more powerful. He alone is able to make it through the interview with a virtual Anamore, and is awarded the gloves.Will the antidote to Tremist poison be found in time? Or will the Tremists manage to make Earth collide with Skars? Most importantly, will Mason be able to harness the powers at his disposal in the next book, since a treaty will be broken?
Strengths: Extra bonus points for bringing a middle grade parent back from the dead and giving us hope that Mason't father can be saved as well! While the Tremists are a threat, Mason seems to have things well enough in hand that I don't find the story depressing. I like the trend toward space adventure science fiction rather than Dystopian science fiction. The first book is never on the shelf, so I am glad to have this one.
Weaknesses: If the plot with Marcus being a stupid bully would have continued, I would have been irritated. How sad is it that the Rhadgasts gave Mason fewer problems? I was also a little put off by Mason's misbehavior-- if you can save the world, you can learn how to behave and not get in trouble. What? That's a teacher perspective rather than one from the target demographic? Probably!

Mr. Krokos' publicist offered to have him answer questions, but I have gone completely blank. Anyone have anything they would like to ask?

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers


  1. Great, thorough review! I like your distinction between space adventure science fiction and dystopian science fiction. I have some kids who would love the space adventure - kids who enjoyed Wendy Mass's Pi in the Sky.

  2. I do like the cover on this one. The story sounds equally appealing. I have only writing type questions for Mr. Krokos: What is his personal writing process? How many drafts did this go through? How did you develop these characters?

  3. Thanks for sharing this one - I know I have kids who would just love the plot line and characters.

  4. This sounds out of my normal reading type. I'm glad to know about it, but will probably not get this one.