Space Detective by Mark Powers and Illustrated by Dapo Adeola
Read before: No
Ownership: A copy was provided by the publisher so I could participate in the blogtour but this doesn’t influence my opinion of it.
Spoiler free review: Yes
Space Detectives is a really cute “mystery” middle grade. It is set in a space city orbiting the Earth were our two main characters are spending their summer helping in the ice cream shop. There is a fun cast of alien species making their appearance and odd flavours of ice cream.
But the main event is that as they make friends, they stumble upon a big mess where the space city is on a collition course to the Moon! Our brave pair then decide they can’t let it just stand and they should try to solvethis mystery. They are even joined by their new friend and so chaos ensues as they try to find a way in to investigate and help fix the course of the station.
Overall, I enjoyed the fun story and there were a lot of funny moments however two “science” fails really struck to me, one related to their smart suits and the other related to the actual plot of the collition course being set and “fixed” but there is also a lot of encouragement towards science and computers so I just hope it helps encourage kids to those fields rather than put them off.
The artwork is extremely cute and I had so much fun seeing how the alien species appeared in the illustrations, specially the bat rats which I kinda wanted as pets and also at the same time found slightly terrifying!
Recommended for anyone wanting a wacky space adventure with a quick mystery and save the day story.
Well, I was selected to be part of the blog tour of this tour oriented book, and as such I need to make it clear I received a copy of the book so i could participate in it, but this doesn’t affect my review/post about it.
Now that that is out of the way I have to say that Notes from Small Planets is a great humour book. It is meant to give that vibe of a travel guide of “how to get the most out of your trip to X”, but the trick here is that X is a bunch of small planets, each with quirky interesting settings.
In itself, each world is an exploration of fantasy and scifi world tropes, and the usual cliches and expectations we have of them (you know, people expect elves to be good, orcs to be bad, etc). Each planet/world that we visit or rather that we are suggested to visit has their own flaovur and we’re seeing everything from the “eyes” and voice of Floyd, who more or less embodies the white privileged coloniser, but we get the margin notes and foot notes from Eliza, who is adamant on setting things right.
The notes on each planet are fantastic and poke so much fun at books and other stories and yet they are they very own unique thing, that I kept trying to match them to the book they may be inpired by and then wondering if it wasn’t just a bunch of trope books.
And the other shining star is the notes, all those little quips between Eliza and Floyd. They help set the why and how and mood of the travel guide and put you on a “look at what is being written as a travel guide vs what may actually have happened”. The further along in the book the more you realise the planets and travelling may be more than meets the eye, and by the end, well, let’s just say I was a mix of giggling and exclamations on it.
Thoroughly enjoyable guide that has a lot of humour, a bit of sobering truth (maybe more than we’d like at times) and just a very original “welcome to this world, this is your intro the videogame and world” kind of feel.
A dishonourable discharge left Margo unable to find honest work on Earth. Signing onto a colonizing mission heading to a new world promised a fresh start. Or at least that’s what she’d thought. Strapped into a crashing colony ship, she realized how wrong she’d been. They hit the ground and the straight forward colonizing mission becomes a scramble for survival. Accidents keep happening—too many to blame on random bad luck. A trail of evidence leads Margo to a startling conclusion—one of her fellow colonists is a saboteur. Tomorrow is the colony’s first communications window with Earth and their only chance to send a message home.
Will Margo stop the saboteur before it’s too late?
I was approached by Jeannette a while ago about this book because my twitter header made her think of her heroine. This immediately made me want to read the book, so she sent me a copy (very thankful for it).
I took my sweet time to read through this book and I am so sorry for this! (Sometimes I pause books and struggle to get back to them, not that I have a problem with the book but my mind kinda thinks I should start over and at the same time, not).
Anyway, to the actual review. Day 115 on an alien world introduces us to Margo who is definitely an interesting and nuanced character (I really liked her, the more she explores around and meets the rest of the “crew” the more I liked her). And I ended up having this image of her just as my drawing did, which made her feel even more real.
It is a nice space opera with a well paced who dunnit mystery that keeps you wondering who is behind all the things happening and why. But there is also the element of being somewhere that isn’t home.
To me it was a little bit of Prey (the Bethesda game), with some Elizabeth Moon space adventure (less political) and other interesting elements. I liked the interesting aspect of them needing to be a “married” couple to be able to populate the new world (but also, there seems to be this “wanting it to fail” undercurrent in it). And I liked how Gary understands that the arranged marriage with Margo is for both, their ticket into the program, but that it may suit both of them to do their own thing and just keep appearances.
There was a lot of science in this book too (some adapted, but also, some interesting approaches) which is part of why I kept pausing the book. I kept getting distracted by the ideas in it, and it reminded me a little of the mix of science int fiction that Anne McCaffrey does and I have loved so much.
The book relies on having good characters to move the plot along (because it is a small space and there defintiely seems to be a saboteur in the program), which it did well, as the characters have layers and depth.
All in all an interesting space opera mystery. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Lindley Hamilton has been the leader of the space station Lusca since every first-generation crew member on board, including her mother, the commander, were killed by a deadly virus.
Lindley always assumed she’d captain the Lusca one day, but she never thought that day would come so soon. And she never thought it would be like this—struggling to survive every day, learning how to keep the Lusca running, figuring out how to communicate with Earth, making sure they don’t run out of food.
When a member of the surviving second generation dies from symptoms that look just like the deadly virus, though, Lindley feels her world shrinking even smaller. The disease was supposed to be over; the second generation was supposed to be immune. But as more people die, Lindley must face the terrifying reality that either the virus has mutated or something worse is happening: one of their own is a killer.
This book came in December’s Book Box Club box, and I wasn’t sure how keen I would be about it. For some reason I kept thinking it might be similar to “The Loneliest Girl in the Universe”, and I wasn’t really up to reading a similar book.
On the good side, it was a buddy read, so it was easier to get going and it was thankfully not the same feel. Instead we meet Lindley and we learn a little about her small world (quite literally, because all she’s known is the station she’s in, so yeah).
They’ve just come out of a terrible epidemic where all the humans that were native to Earth died and were affected by it, whereas the ones born in the station have survived. ut that means that they are not older than 19, which is a bit of a tricky situation as they’ll have to “grow up” a little bit faster. The station still needs to be kept working, they all need food, and oh wait, someone’s dead and it looks almost as if the same virus is back!
Poor Lindley starts investigating it and keeps finding it just doesn’t add up, maybe it mutated? Plus there’s a lot of other issues going on in the station (I found this good, because yes, there would be and it is annoying sometimes when things just go smoothly on the vessel/place that would need people to keep it going).
Slowly, as the deaths pile up and the upkeep of the station gets too high, Lindley realises it isn’t a virus that’s killing them, because what’s killing them isn’t an “it” but rather a who. Someone in the station is killing them, but who? why? how? are very big questions and very difficult to answer when you’re also desperately trying to keep everyone alive (by providing food, water, ensuring they sleep, etc.)
For the mystery part I wasn’t that surprised, as I suspected who it was, but I wasn’t sure of the motive (I had a few theories), but despite guessing the culprit, it was still wuite good at keeping you hooked, and wanting to keep on reading, and it has a good flow so you don’t feel bored about it, or have too slow parts.
My least favourite part was the romance bits, but there were some good details about it that saved it. And it isn’t the main focus of the story, so all good.
I’d give this a go, or maybe The Loneliest Girl in the Universe (because it isn’t the same but it gives a good similar vibe) or maybe any of the recent thrillers I have reviewed.
Disclaimer: All links either link back to other review posts, or to an Amazon affiliates link. You don’t have to buy it, I just do it because I was still going to try to link it to amazon so you’d know what it looks like, or if you wanted to buy it, so decided to give the Affiliates a go, which yeah, doesn’t bring me anything of revenue, but now it’s a habit.
The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?
Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.
Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.
But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?
Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .
Romy is very very lonely, and it is interesting to try to figure out exactly why she ended up being so alone (that is one part of the story in itself). Which as much as sometimes I want to be left alone I do not want it that bad.
Then she starts receiving messages from someone called J in the new ship and she starts to get slightly confused by it. But there are also some other messages coming to her and she has to figure things out.
I have to admit I quickly knew or guessed the “twist” but it was still good and very well done. Romy was awesome and it showed well her lack of company and just how lonely she was and the way hope changes her at times. The writing flows as you read so you want to keep reading, trying to find out what exactly is going to happen and when.