O.K., let's be honest here. This is a Kindle freebie, (now cheapie). The cover is homemade. A ten year old finds, or is found by, a buried spaceship and adventure ensues. To me, and maybe to you other dedicated Kindle freebie browsers, this suggests a well intentioned amateur author and the likelihood of a so-so book.
Well surprise, this is an exceptionally good, well-written, well-conceived and plotted, and well-executed book. Go figure.
Our hero, Archie, is very nicely developed. He has that classic English ten year old sang froid that makes him likeable and that invites us to accept the outlandish premise. (At one point he actually wonders at how well he is taking this crazy event in stride.) He likes his parents and grand parents, does O.K. at school, meets every new development with bemusement, and steps willingly into his adventure. He is insightful and has a dry sense of humor. He likes cool stuff. He is trustworthy and loyal and works well with others. He is, an unusual characteristic in a book of this sort, kind and considerate. You root for him from page one.
He finds his spaceship in the first chapter and we immediately meet his three comic foils. The three robot companions, (a personal bodyguard, a grumpy tech robot, and the spaceship's AI), have distinct and engaging personalities. They needle each other, and worry about our hero's safety. They kvetch and kibitz. They could give R2D2 and C-3PO a real run for their money.
The complement of characters is rounded out by Archie's co-pilot, Nicola, (annoying and cheeky, but sound) and a cat and a dog, (who can talk to the kids with the help of translator implants). As per usual, the cat gets all of the funniest throwaway lines.
The plot is all over the place, but there's good and evil and battles and personal danger and excitement and heroism and spaceships and conspiracies and rescues and lots of other totally neat stuff, all of which our hero takes in stride.
And it is all well written. There are lots of bits of business and bits of dialogue that ring true. Descriptions are to the point. There is some dry humor and a little slapstick. There are some striking and insightful passing observations. Nothing is snarky or ironic - this is all just good fun, and you always feel like you are in the hands of an assured and good-humored author.
There are a few spellcheck errors, (do you here what I'm saying?), and some questionable punctuation, but well ahead of what's par for the course on Kindle freebies and not enough to detract from the book.
All in all a fine, cheerful and entertaining "Boy's, or Girl's, Own" adventure and a very happy find.
Please note that I found this book while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
on 2 February 2014
Bought this book on recommendation from a friend who had purchased for her son.
Read this with my son and we really enjoyed the story and the characters. He especially liked the character of Regulus!
Good writing and good development of characters and a fun enjoyable, easy read for children over the age of 7/8. Will be recommending to other parents I know. Not too long so also able to keep attention!
on 21 April 2013
This is one of those books that will appeal to children and the parents who buy it for them. An Earth bound Sci Fi adventure with plenty of humour and a fast pace. The characters have a life of their own and the story is interesting and exciting. Alien super criminals from Atlantis, secret government agents and a ten year old boy called Archie, at the centre of it all in a spaceship he finds under a greenhouse. With gagets, including paralysing water pistols, a device which makes children appear as their older self, and wise cracking robots, this will keep you entertained.
on 30 January 2014
This is a fantastic adventure story to capture the imagination of readers of all ages. With an excitingly original plot, loveable characters and witty humour there is a lot to rave about this book! Action packed to tempt even the most reluctant of young readers this sci-fi novel is superb – S. Cassley deserves to be published and become the next big name in children’s literature!
on 6 August 2013
This is simply a great story that captures so well how childhood explorations can bring about such wonderful surprises. All ages will be thrilled by Archie's adventures with his new robot friends and his spaceship journeys. The relationship between Archie and his ginger kitten, Sandy, is truly comical at times as we get to understand what felines really thinking about us humans. I am eagerly anticipating the next instalment.