Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Black Stars by Dan Krakos

 Sci-fi, and kids don't always go together but Dan Krakos decided to mesh the two and did a pretty good job of it.  Now before I go any further I would like to state that this novel is the follow up to an earlier Krakos novel called The Planet Thieves but is still good enough to be read by itself since Krakos does nifty flashbacks every so often.

     Apparently in The Planet Thieves Mason helped bring peace between humans and another alien species and the result is that he is famous throughout the galaxy. However bullies and any punk with a point to prove wants a piece of him. Earth as we know it is different. Mason and his kind live in another time where contact with other races is not only common but necessary. The other kind is a species known as Tremist who are similar in appearance to humans but have way cooler technology and weaponry. One of their most powerful weapons has been lost for centuries. Mason, though young, is a formidable warrior so he is selected to go to live with the Tremist in order to train and be ready should there be a need to fight other wars. As you can imagine, there are some awkward moments and Mason has to adjust his thinking in order to live in a strange place but I would equate that to the adjustments a normal teen would have to make were s/he to live in another country.

  I found that Krakos could have done a better job showing Mason's relationships with other characters male and female. He came off as being almost android-like in his interactions and in his reactions to battles and pain. The plot twists were handled adequately but the epilogue was far too long and a tad unwieldy. With that being said, I liked the book because hidden underneath all the action and suspense are some valuable messages for the age group the book is aimed for (middle grades).

In no particular order and without revealing too much f the plot here are my takeaways:
-growing up is hard
-nothing is ever black and white, there is almost always some grey
-don't judge by appearances

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