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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feel-good fiction that subverts the sci-fi stereotypes …
There is one of THOSE ‘now or never’ moments in ‘Destination Earth’. A lethal alien life force is heading our way. All that stands between it and Earth’s annihilation is…

Ali Sparkes is especially adept at subverting the sci-fi stereotypes. So, instead of a superhero, our fate depends on ‘one thirteen year-old girl with...
Published 10 months ago by Stewart Robertson

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun book for tweens
This is a lighthearted book that falls somewhere between the children's and Young Adult genres - I would say it's probably aimed at those aged between 9 and 13. There's a bit of mild creature gore, but it's not too scary.

The first half of the book follows 14 year old Lucy, who has spent the last ten years alone on a space ship and is now trying to adjust to...
Published 1 month ago by Miss


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feel-good fiction that subverts the sci-fi stereotypes …, 4 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Destination Earth (Paperback)
There is one of THOSE ‘now or never’ moments in ‘Destination Earth’. A lethal alien life force is heading our way. All that stands between it and Earth’s annihilation is…

Ali Sparkes is especially adept at subverting the sci-fi stereotypes. So, instead of a superhero, our fate depends on ‘one thirteen year-old girl with dodgy co-ordination and bad spelling’. Of course, we KNOW that dyspraxic Emma WILL successfully blast the Koth with a frostlaser. After all we wouldn’t be reading Sparkes’ gripping novel if she hadn’t! But Sparkes ratchets up the excitement to make us believe that the single Koth will escape and start to multiply, times 12 and times 12 again and times 12 again…a class-room, seemingly unstoppable, multiplication that makes the Koth so horribly sinister.

Emma doesn’t lack help, of course. But again, Sparkes subverts the genre. The Koths are handicapped in their flight by the intense volume of ‘Level 42’ bassist Mark King playing a gig. Nothing could be so contra-stereotypical than a real life pop star featuring as a character in sci-fi fiction. Yet nothing could be more believable! After all, Mark originates from the Isle of Wight where the action of ‘Destination Earth’ takes place. And how could he not turn up his Status Graphite Kingbase, as asked, when he has a rifle is aimed at his head by Lucy, a teenage fan from faraway Cornelian Eclata who has just landed ‘in a ghost-like silver space-craft of modest dimensions’.

That ‘modest-dimensions’ says a lot about a story that Sparkes keeps firmly grounded in the ‘cool’ teenage world, despite aliens, twinkling technology and flying horrors from outer space. Doesn’t Lucy just love her first-ever shopping spree (though she almost makes the near fatal mistake of going to the wrong, ‘uncool’, hairdresser)? And she MUST find a replacement for her ‘Nipe’ trainers that were dyslexically synthesized in outer space. Then, there’s Jay, Emma’s brother. He has no qualms about carrying the girls’ shopping bags in Newport or helping his mother servicing the lodges that provide the family’s income. Cool! And there’s Sue, Emma and Jay’s mum, the epitome of coolness. Hair up in a scrunchy, Sue could be a teenager herself. She is as unfazed by a Koth-carrying pit-bull terrier as she is as nifty a baker as Mary Berry. OK; she needs a prompt from her teenage offspring to be a bit more forward with Nick, a paying quest. But their future seems hopeful from the novel’s beginning when Nick is a recipient of a slice of Sue’s home-baked Victoria sponge. Nick is an ex-RAF fighter pilot and freelance operative with access to British Intelligence. This is all very useful, not so much in saving the world but hushing things up with Mark King and achieving a ‘happy-ever-after’ ending for Lucy.

‘Destination Earth’ is feel-good fiction that will leave you a cheerier person for having read it. And it does make you think, Hamlet-like, that there might be ‘more things in heaven and earth’ than in our philosophy. My only (carping) criticism is the novel’s almost instantly forgettable title. ‘Destination Earth’s’ epigraph is a verse from Level 42’s ‘Starchild’. Later, in the same song, the line ‘Whole worlds still unknown’ sums up the novel especially well and might have provided the basis for a ‘cooler’ title!

Stewart Robertson
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun book for tweens, 19 Mar. 2015
By 
Miss "crazyminx" (Coventry) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Destination Earth (Paperback)
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This is a lighthearted book that falls somewhere between the children's and Young Adult genres - I would say it's probably aimed at those aged between 9 and 13. There's a bit of mild creature gore, but it's not too scary.

The first half of the book follows 14 year old Lucy, who has spent the last ten years alone on a space ship and is now trying to adjust to life on earth. The second half is a fairly predictable chase-and-kill-the-alien creature plot as Lucy realises something evil hitched a lift to earth on her ship.

Overall this is a cute, fun story with likeable and realistic characters. It didn't keep me particularly gripped and it was a bit predictable but it was entertaining enough. One thing that did stop me from enjoying it fully though was the writing style. It seemed very immature. There were a lot of block capitals used for emphasis, and more annoyingly there was a lot of point of view swapping. The author seemed to jump in and out of different characters' heads almost at random, often changing perspective several times on one page, and it was quite distracting.

This is an okay stand-alone read, but it could do with a bit more fine tuning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beware the Killer Moth-Bats!, 30 Jan. 2015
By 
Book Gannet (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Destination Earth (Paperback)
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This book is so much fun. Lucy is a sweet, slightly over-enthusiastic, alien teenager who knows all about keeping a low profile, telling lies and trying to fit in – it’s just that she’s not very good at it. From her slightly off possessions (Nipe trainers, Motokola phone) to her extreme fitness, not to mention her suspiciously new money and obsession with Level 42, everything about her is either too perfect or just a little wrong. It’s no wonder local teenagers Jay and Emma are intrigued by her.

But this story is about more than Lucy’s clumsy attempts to appear human. There’s a darker tale just waiting to burst out in the form of the creepy parasitic Koth. It takes a while for this plot to kick in, though, so things meander slowly along for most of the book until the Koth arrives and everything suddenly happens very quickly. From that moment on this fun little story turns into an exciting race against time to kill the Koth and save the world.

Quirky, funny, exciting and a quick read, I really enjoyed this book. I’ll be looking out for more from Ali Sparkes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very sweet and a bit tense, I love it., 20 Jun. 2014
By 
H J Mac "Heath" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Destination Earth (Kindle Edition)
This is great. A lovely one off story as enjoyable as all her others. Some great characters including a sort of cameo from her shapeshifters universe.

It's about an alien girl who has come to the Isle of Wight, of all places, the last survivor of a planet devastated by a truly horrible creature, which is sort reminiscent of Alien, but still quite scary and tense, with some great world building.

Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Will read more from this author, 12 Feb. 2015
By 
Angela - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Destination Earth (Paperback)
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I read this with a view to passing on to my eleven year old, and was surprised to find how action packed, original and interesting a story it was. Lucy is the 14 year old travelling alien, with a love of East Enders and Level 42, which have been some of her cultural references whilst travelling for ten years through space as the only survivor of an entire planet who needs to learn to be human in order to fit in. Landing on the Isle of Wight, the story sees her meeting children of her age, Jay and his sister Emma and trying to fit in. As she comically sometimes gets it wrong and revels in the delights of Earth, something is lurking on the outside shell of her ship and the future of the planet will hang in the balance. Can she work with her new friends and save the world? To find out you will have to read the book.

I really liked the characters in this book who are convincing and likeable. They are not perfect, two dimensional characters at all. Sue is the single mum to Jay and Emma, who has dyspraxia but who is a feisty and determined girl who is more than her disability. Some tough themes are handled well. There is mild danger and a few gory bits towards the end. Though, ultimately, I decided to hold on giving this book to my child, who is a young 11, mainly as I could see parasite aliens maybe leading to a few nightmares, for a less sensitive preteen I am sure the book would be fine; I would imagine I will be able to pass on to her in a year or so and for readers of the same age as the heroine, ie 14 the story is sure to keep them gripped, there's no inappropriate language and it's an interesting story. It's great to see such strong female characters too, who stand on their own merits.
Highly recommended, for all the reasons above and as I secretly quite enjoyed it, for those who, as the blurb suggests, have a penchant for Dr Who, and who enjoy getting lost in a book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Read!, 19 Mar. 2015
By 
H. Pierce (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Destination Earth (Paperback)
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Lucy is an alien. She is also the sole-surviving member of her whole planet. She has been travelling through space for nearly ten years, learning how to integrate herself in the world of humans along the way. Unfortunately, Lucy isn't actually alone in her spaceship, she has a stowaway on-board. This other alien species could spell disaster for the whole of the human race.

Upon arrival on Earth, Lucy finds herself striking up a friendship with siblings of a similar age to herself. Things seem fun, and she tries her level best to fit what she has learned into her real-life experiences. Before long, however, things take a serious turn for the worse. This other alien stowaway has the potential to annihilate the human race, and must be stopped at all costs! Can Lucy and her new friends save the day?

I won't tell you what else happens, but I will say that I enjoyed the story very much. I read it in one sitting, and could barely tear my eyes off it for a second. As is the case with well-written stories, it is a tale to span the ages. It is aimed at around the 9-12 year old market, but it most definitely gripped both myself, and my six year old daughter. She also read it in one day, although she is a particular fan of the genre.

Having said all this, I feel confident saying that sci-fi fans of all ages should enjoy reading this novel. I highly recommend it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars They All Stepped Out... (No Spoilers), 28 Jan. 2015
By 
S. Wilson (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Destination Earth (Paperback)
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A good read which I enjoyed but I think probably aimed more at the 12 plus reader. The book was very slow to start but as there was a reasonable bit of background parts for Lucy, Mumgram and the spaceship to explain then this wasn't too bad and the story was still engaging. When the 'action' started I couldn't put the book down and I really enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first half. A good read which if you like older children's books and sci-fi type ones you should enjoy. The interaction between Lucy and her new Earth friends Emma and Jay was lovely and at parts funny and as I said above an enjoyable read.

The book follows Lucy who is an alien from another world and after a long 10 year journey to get to Earth is just about to land with the ship and the holographic representation of her Mum who she calls Mumgram. I found the reason behind Mumgram very sad and I don't think I have spoilt anything for anyone as it is pretty obvious within the first couple of chapters as why the hologram is called this. Anyway Lucy plans to integrate onto Earth and live her life out there after events on her own homeworld forced her to leave. The trouble is that whilst Lucy comes in peace something else has stowed away with her and certainly has no peaceful intentions for Earth and it's inhabitents.....
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4.0 out of 5 stars NO TIME TO LOSE - WE COULD ALL BE DOOMED!, 19 Jan. 2015
By 
Mr. D. L. Rees "LEE DAVID" (DORSET) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Destination Earth (Paperback)
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Alien teen Lucy has just landed on the Isle of Wight, for ten years programmed so she can easily blend. Alarmingly her craft harbours a stowaway, the dreaded Koth which destroyed life on her planet. Soon the desperate race is on to save Earth. The odds are against, even with rockstars Level 42 involved.

An enjoyable read, its second half increasingly exciting. Many will take to Lucy, so awesomely resourceful (and with every good reason to be). Also appealing are young Emma and Jay (great sibling banter), their mum Sue, and Nick Dobson - a retired fighter pilot on holiday, he mindful of sleeper terrorists who may lurk in our midst. Considerably less likeable is new neighbour Badger, he ever on the scrounge (and soon to wish he had not been so intrusive).

Initially there is much humour as Lucy tries to adjust, her knowledge encyclopedic but aspects needing attention - for example, not all earthlings are like those featured in "EastEnders".

Despite serious undercurrents (coping with loss, the yearning to belong), this is mainly lively escapism. Young readers will find much that entertains.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you haven't read any of her other books I would recommend the Shapeshifter series, 11 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Destination Earth (Paperback)
This book is a must read! The gripping story line gets you hooked right away. An alien teenager has been travelling through space for the last ten years, learning how to fit in with the humans on earth, this is her only chance of any sort of life as her own planet has been wiped out by the evil Koth. Ali has a real talent combining excitement and suspense with humour. It was a treat to read this book and as with all of her books the characters are very believable and so well described you really feel you are there with them the whole way through. If you haven't read any of her other books I would recommend the Shapeshifter series, Unleashed and some of the stand alone books like Dark Summer and Frozen in Time, you won't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, 22 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Destination Earth (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this sci-fi/ adventure book. I definitely think it deserves 5 stars because it is interesting, thrilling and fun. A real page turner. I would recommend this for 10-14 year olds.
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Destination Earth
Destination Earth by Ali Sparkes (Paperback - 5 Jun. 2014)
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