Book Review

Zero G – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.25/5 stars)

It was supposed to be a standard colonization trip: Zero and his family would board the Pathfinder, enter stasis, and 100 years later wake up in orbit of a new planet. But that all changes when Zero’s stasis pod malfunctions and wakes up only 1-month into the journey. Yet, as the only person awake from stasis, it means he’s also the sole person to defend the ship against a sinister crew of space pirates. Can he save the Pathfinder and its 20,000 passengers before it’s too late?

A fun audio book, with a full fledged cast that will keep the attention of both children and adults, we are set exploring the Pathfinder with 12-year-old Zero. He’s a precocious kid, observant with a knack for science. If anyone was to wake up on the pathfinder, thank goodness it was Zero! The narrative takes us through his journey, and each subtle detail became relevant to Zero’s goal: from the can of tomato sauce that exploded to the paint cans. Zero’s observant nature helps him take on a group of space pirates, alone for the most part, except from help in a few unlikely places.

The story is predictable, but in all the best ways. Of course Zero will save the day! But it’s his decisions that really capture the reader: he’s not malicious in his intents, only protective. It makes him an enjoyable character to read versus some other middle grade male protagonists who might be a bit more volatile or mean-spirited. No. Zero is kind, smart, silly, and a kid. Those are all the things that make him wonderful.

As an adult listening to this audio book, a few questions pop into my mind. It won’t take away from the enjoyment of the story, especially kids, but I do wonder: why were there no other safe fails or spare stasis pods? Why was there no way to safely wake up someone if there was a problem? Why was there only one pilot…especially on a ship of 20,000 people? These are things that, in the real world, probably wouldn’t happen. But for the narrative sake it worked, and kids probably won’t notice these questions enough.

I’m definitely going to check out the next story in Zero’s adventures. I’m curious what he, as well as his new friend, will encounter next!

What’s it about?

It’s one kid versus an entire band of space pirates in this cosmic middle grade caper from New York Times bestselling author Dan Wells.

Zero is just one of 20,000 people aboard a spaceship bound for a new planet set to be colonized. The journey is over a century long but luckily, everyone is in stasis, so they’ll be safe and sound asleep during the trip. Everyone that is, except for Zero, whose pod has malfunctioned, waking him up a hundred years early. His initial excitement in roaming the ship alone quickly turns to a heart-stopping interstellar adventure when a family of space pirates show up, trying to hijack the ship and take the colonizers hostage. With everyone he knows fast asleep, it’s up to Zero to think fast and find a way to stop them–all on his own.

Book Review

Goon Squad – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5 stars)
Audio Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5 Stars)
Total Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5 stars)

Meet the Goon Squad…protectors of modern-day Manchester against rogue talents and other criminal scum. Join Nadiya Kysla as she is requisitioned as “Puppet Girl” for the Goon Squad, a name given to her due to her empathetic abilities…and more! But being a “goon” isn’t like typical law enforcement; with her new team – Ian the Dead Man, Gilbert the “Red Wolf”, and Talos the Robot – they are faced with challenges they can’t even begin to fathom.

The heart of the Goon Squad really comes from the characters. Each of these characters, called “talents” rather than superheroes, are unique not only by their abilities, but by how they stomp out different tropes in superhero fiction. When I first met Nadiya, I thought I would be getting a stereotypical, chaotic, Harley Quinn type of anti-hero. I am so glad I was wrong! Instead we receive a female lead who has innate empathic abilities…and more! She likes having fun, loves her plush panda, and wants to do what is right. Then there’s Gilbert, the Red Wolf, who is so determined to be a good person that villains often fail to find “dirt” on him. He spends his time fighting down the wolf inside of him, making him both the heart and the strength of the squad. Then there’s Ian Mears, the walking dead man: sarcastic, witty, he is probably the most stereotypical type of character…but in all the best ways! A team like this needs someone to “tell it how it is” after all. The only character that really remains elusive is Talos, but based on the ending of book 3, that is with reason.

As fun as the multiple stories throughout the audio rendition are, I think the episodic nature of each chapter didn’t always work. I understand it was supposed to be like a comic book, and I could picture each scene as a comic book, but as an audio book, it left something to be desired. Possibly if I read this on my kindle instead, I might have been a bit more engaged. So I can’t say if it was the writing or narrator that left me distracted.

I can totally picture this as a comic or TV show though! The author’s goal was to paint a comic with prose, and he did do just that! And with a cliff hanger like that…I am sure to pick up the next part when it is released!

So if you want some darker, but still heroic, deeds…check out Goon Squad! It’s fun and worth the ride!

What’s it about?

An ongoing, episodic ”prose comic” from which the pictures are summoned by the magic of words, Goon Squad is set in an alternate version of modern-day Manchester. Its biggest divergence from the real city is that it — along with most other large urban centers — has a team of superheroes to protect it against unusual threats with which the conventional forces of law and order would have problems.