Reviews for Starbounders

Booklist Reviews 2014 September #1
With blithe disregard for astrophysics but full tanks of high-octane action, this breezy series opener sends three fledgling space cadets zigzagging across the universe to solve a mystery and, ultimately, save Earth from an alien invasion. Hardly have Zachary, Spock-like alien Ryic, and hotshot Kaylee arrived at Indigo 8, the Inter Planetary Defense League's hidden academy, than they are busted for illicit weapons use. Then they're consigned to the battered Dreadnought Epsilon (a cargo ship), which is immediately hijacked. Both as captives and after escaping, they travel to exotic planets on both sides of the Asteroid Curtain ("everything beyond it is part of the outerverse that predates existence as we know it"), all while evading multiple assassination attempts. Mixing plenty of fatal but painless violence with gross-out gags and an odd assortment of weaponry ranging from blasters to sonic crossbows, the uncomplicated tale reads just like a space video game recast into prose. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Zachary Night is thrilled to begin his training as a Starbounder, a top-secret intergalactic agent. But things at the training center, Indigo 8, quickly start going wrong, and Zachary soon discovers an evil plan that he and his friends must stop. Filled with imaginative gadgets and weird aliens, this sci-fi story is an intriguing romp.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 May #1
Switching schools means making new friends and remembering a new locker combination, but at Indigo 8, Earth's site for Starbounders-in-training, lessons tend to be a little more otherworldly. Incoming freshman Zachary Night has more than his new warp glove, the starchery range and the zero-gravity Qube to negotiate. Zachary is following in the footsteps of generations of Nights dedicated to protecting Earth from various outerverse threats. However, he is confident that with training he can live up to the legacy. But, when a custodial detail on a freighter goes awry, Zachary and his new friends are literally lost in space. The trio soon find themselves fighting space pirates, trying to survive hostile planets and negotiating a whole universe of alien species. Stock characters--a bumbling-but-lovable alien; a sassy girl with a chip on her shoulder; a hero with a legacy to claim--populate this uninspired adventure. Unfortunately, while its inspiration is clear (Alex Rider meets Percy Jackson in space!), the execution is anything but. Lame humor, familiar gadgets and a predictable plot collide, creating a story that will not satisfy even the most hard-core space junkies. A trek few will want to take. (Science fiction. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 August

Gr 4-6--What looks like a normal boarding school is just the cover for Indigo 8, the Earth command center for the Inter Planetary Defense League and its secret training facility for young Starbounders. As a new trainee, Zachary Night has big shoes to fill. His ancestors have been Starbounders for generations, his parents were expert space pilots, and his big brother was one of the youngest Elite Corps recruits ever. With his new friends, rebellious Kaylee and alien Ryic, Zachary is excited to begin training. Unfortunately, the kids discover that something is very wrong at the academy. There are way too many dangerous "accidents"-including a near-fatal malfunction in the antigravity training Qube and deadly alien vreeks set loose at a picnic. Then, the three are assigned to their first off-planet mission, and their ship is hijacked by interstellar thugs. It crash-lands on the desert planet Sirocco, and the crooks begin to regard their hostages as expendable-or possibly edible. The action-filled story races from crisis to crisis, taking the junior Starbounders across the cosmos and into the thick of a plot that threatens to destroy Indigo 8-and Earth itself. In the grand tradition of juvenile adventure tales, the kids successfully outwit adult villains, sneak in and out of enemy strongholds, and operate high-tech equipment and top-secret spacecraft. The combination of boarding school high jinks and science fiction derring-do meshes surprisingly smoothly, and there are plenty of plot threads left for a sequel. Black-and-white chapter head illustrations show many of the alien weapons and creatures described in the text. A satisfying choice.--Elaine E. Knight, formerly at Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL

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