Saturday, December 19, 2009

Explorer X- Alpha: LM Preston

Summary (Courtesy of

For most kids, a trip to space camp is the trip of a lifetime for Aadi it was life altering. After receiving a camp immunization needed for travel to Mars, Aadi finds that the immunization is the catalyst of an insidious experiment. He realizes what is happening too late for a change of fate. The full experiment is set in motion when he and his co-pilot, Eirena, crash in a distant galaxy called Shrenas, where they change and realize the full extent of their power. This turn of events forces him to grow up quickly, accept his change, and to decide to save a world, or to do what he was trained to do dominate it. His power is coveted by the warring leaders of Shrenas, and he is forced to choose sides a decision that may prove just how much humanity he has left.


This is a middle grade novel, geared towards 10 and up, and that is very evident in the writing. The idea is strong, the plot is pretty unique and had me intrigued, but the writing fell through for me. Several times, I found myself very distracted by the story itself because of the writing and I never seemed to be able to just read it for long periods at a time. It is rare that writing detracts that much for me, but it did on this one. Even intended for a younger group of kids, I still had a hard time with this one. It is a lot of simple sentences and some of them even start with "So," and that just makes me cringe- maybe its different now, but if even when I was ten, if I turned a paper in to my English teacher and my sentences started with So, blah blah blah I would have been losing points. Much of the sentences are step by step- I did this then that then this, and there wasn't a lot of variation in how things were worded- everyone pretty much said this or replied with that without any of the other wonderful synonyms for those same words.

But as I said before- it is an interesting plot idea. Yes, there elements that have reminded me of other books but Preston ropes them together in her own way and many times, it did work for me. This is a very futuristic book even though I believe it is only set in about 2080- and a lot of the progress that has been made seems like it will never happen in just 70 more years but then again, look at where we are now compared to 70 years ago. In that sense, this book did make me think- writers, engineers, etc have all these ideas of things to do and ways we can advance and with as rapidly as our science is progressing, I can actually see us being this, well, progressed, in 70 years. I admire Preston for basically not holding back on her imagination- she has taken concepts seen in other sci-fi books/movies and things we only dream about and makes them her own while providing them with her characters.

Aadi and Eirena are the two major characters although there are several other prominent characters for most of the story. Both did have strong personalities but I felt they had little actual development- yes, they had changed at the end but it came off more as they were changed because of what happened and they had to be changed rather than having had any real strong epiphany. Their turning point wasn't really seeable- Aadi would start to get towards an epiphany and turn around and negate it. This is the first in a series so there is plenty of time for more development but I felt it lacked in this book. Eirena just bothered me, right from the start. Any changes that happened to her didn't really shock me or even seem that different because of how she came off right from the start. I do like Aadi and I was definitely rooting for him- particularly when he was fighting a battle for both himself and Eirena. Where she lacked, he stepped up but it didn't seem to really go the other way- he was the stronger of the two in my mind.

Overall, I give this one 3 stars. The idea is there, the plot is great and definitely interesting but the writing really detracted for me and I could have used a little more actual development in the characters that didn't involve a 'they changed because they had to because they were in this situation and this happened to them' kind of thing. I think middle grade kids would really like it- there is a lot of action, the descriptions are pretty okay especially for that level, with both a male and female lead for both sexes to root for and side with.

I also am having a giveaway for a copy of this book, courtesy of LM Preston, that is slated to end 12/27/09. Check the top of my blog page for the link to the actual post with the entry form.

Note: This ARC was received courtesy of LM Preston.

1 comment:

  1. Hi :)
    Thank you for the review.
    My son's in the age-group that'll love this book. I'm going to get it for him now.
    Merry Christmas!