Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Stowaway (Icarus Chronicles #1)

Anderson, John David. Stowaway (Icarus Chronicles #1)
August 3rd 2021 by Walden Pond Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Once the Aykari realized that Earth had rich reserves of Ventasium, a valuable mineral, they slowly took over, providing helpful technology and protection from other forces in exchange for it. They also put in place a Coalition, and it is on one of their space ships, the Beagle, that we find Leo Fender living with his older brother Gareth and his scientist father, Ventasium specialist Dr. Fender. Leo would have much preferred to stay on Earth, but once the Djarik started attacking and Earth became a battleground over the mineral, it seemed wise to leave, especially after the tragic death of his mother in an enemy attack. When Djarik forces attack the Beagle, steal its Ventasium, and capture Dr. Fender, there is little that Captain Saito can do. The ship is stranded in space with limited communication and dwindling resources. When it is attacked again by space pirates, the group hopes against hope that pirate Bastian Black will take pity on them and help with their rescue. When this doesn't seem likely, Gareth makes a sudden plan-- he has Leo pack a bag, and the two try to stowaway on the pirates' ship, the Icarus. At the last moment, Gareth realizes that the space he finds is only big enough for Leo, so he sends him off alone. It isn't long before Leo is discovered by crew members Boo, a Queleti, and Skits, a robot. They turn his over to Baz and his first mate, the fiesty, metal armed Kat. Baz is not thrilled, and plans to dump Leo right away, but is eventually convinced to help him find his father. They pay hackers Dev and Mac (who is a brain in a jar!)with an ancient vinyl copy of David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, and determine that Dr. Fender is being held by the Djarik. With Gareth possibly blown up along with the Beagle, Leo is determined to find and rescue his father, a task which is complicated by the fact that there is a large bounty on Baz's head. 
Strengths: If Earth is as great as we think it is, it seems likely that we will be attacked by space aliens, and that it won't end particularly well. I've watched enough Star Trek to know that while some alien life forms are friendly, a lot are not. The details of life on a space ship are interesting, and it's especially good that this lifestyle is contrasted against Leo's life on Earth. Gareth, although we see him only briefly, is a great character, and the fact that he manages to save his brother is great. Baz and Kat end up helping Leo, but are reluctant to do so. It's Boo, who initially frightens Leo, who ends up being his closest companion. There are plenty of stops along the way to find Leo's father, interesting space aliens, and action and adventure. The series information was taken from the publication data of the E ARC. 
Weaknesses: The flashbacks to Leo's life on Earth, which focus on his grief over his mother's death, slow the story down quite a bit and add an edge of sadness to an otherwise interesting space adventure. Also, as a teacher who frequently is in charge of student inhalers, I was SUPER worried that Leo's one inhaler would run out on his adventures. Perhaps, if one is in space, one should travel with TWO.
What I really think: This has some similarities to Lander's Blastaway, Fry's Jupiter Pirates, or Emerson's Last Day on Mars. I'm curious to see the direction the rest of the series takes. 

Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. This looks super interesting to me. And I love your comment about the inhalers! (Yes, two for a trip to space seems like a no-brainer!)