Whilst out of the intended age range for this book I thought that I would give it a go, as it looked exactly the sort of thing that I would have enjoyed in my childhood or teenage years. The story follows 5 children (and a robot) on a journey through space after their ship is destroyed by a malevolent and mysterious force known only as 'The Shark'. Much like a character in another well known children's book, this background threat is persistent throughout and gives the feeling of being about to strike at any time. The difference is that The Shark is a complete unknown, which keeps the intrigue alive without being too menacing.
The characters are very well defined, perhaps a little too obviously in some places but again this is something that comes with the territory of the intended age range. This would make it very easy for younger readers to relate, and the awkward relationships between the characters will be all too familiar to children of that age.
One thing that was especially impressive was the way that the futuristic technologies are incorporated into the story. Ideas such as new chemicals and materials, advanced robotics and even multi-dimensional travel are introduced and explained in a way that is not only interesting, but simple. For someone not au fait with this sort of thing, it is explained in an easy and flowing manner. For a young person with dreams of space and the future, it's ideal.
The jumps between scenes are a little abrupt, owing in part to the short length of the novel, but for a first book in a series this is an excellent introduction to what looks like being an exciting journey for the children in the book, and for anybody reading it. It is most definitely intended for teenagers looking for something beyond the standard sci-fi fare, but I enjoyed it immensely and will look forward to reading the next in the series.