Thursday, May 23, 2013

[IGH] on Books: The Planet Thieves

Courtesy of Tor Books.
Out this week is The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos.  This is the first book in this new young adult series from Starscape Books.  This is the newest addition to the teenage saves the day theme that has become so popular but is the first to be part of the sci-fi genre in a long time.

Humans are at war with an alien species called the Tremist.  This war story follows a group of young military cadets during their summer session in space aboard the SS Egypt, when they are attacked.  The oldest cadets, led by classic troublemaker Mason, run off to help but this isn't the classic Tremist attack.  They are looking for something specific.  Now, I've given a very basic overview but there is a lot more into this story.  Check out this trailer to really get your heart pumping.

The cadets are the main characters of the book.  Mason, our 13 year old hero, is a classic teenage boy who just happens to be thrust into a crazy situation.  What is great about him is the insight into his though process.  We get to see how he comes to decisions and his reaction to the result, good or bad.  He is surrounded by his friends, fellow cadets Tom, Jeremy, Stellan and Merrin.  I was a little disappointed that only one female cadet, Merrin, was featured but there are plenty of women in supporting roles that provide a strong female presence.

This is described as Star Trek meets Harry Potter and that is so spot on.  This story is a blend of classic sci-fi with a touch of mysticism. It seems like it might be too much and at times, I admit that magic plus space battles can be a little taxing for the imagination.  Truth is, this is the first sci-fi young adult series I have seen in a very long time and I think it will fill a void sorely overlooked.

Illustration of the Tremist by Antonio Javier Caparo.
Courtesy of Tor Books.
The tempo of this story is very fast.  Rarely do the characters or the reader get a chance to take a breath.   This plus the space/magic combo makes it a taxing read towards the middle of the book.  I could see a non-experienced reader getting confused or frustrated by certain things.  However, by the end of the book Krokos pulls it all together so masterfully, you are cheering for him as much as the characters.  The Planet Thieves has been optioned already by Warner Bros. and I truly hope they don’t ruin it.  The book’s fast pace should help it translate fabulously to the big screen but a lot of Mason’s depth will be lost.

This is a great addition to young adult science fiction and as the series progresses, I think it will only get better.  Until more news of the movie comes out, I will just wait with bated breath for the next addition to this wonderful series.  If you know a teen or adult who loves Sci-fi and/or Harry Potter and/or Rick Riordan, The Planet Thieves is just the book for them.



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