The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos - book review

Publisher’s Blurb: “Two weeks ago, thirteen-year-old Mason Stark and seventeen of his fellow cadets from the Academy for Earth Space Command boarded the SS Egypt. The trip was supposed to be a short routine voyage to log their required spacetime for summer quarter. But routine goes out the airlock when they’re attacked by the Tremist, an alien race who have been at war with humanity for the last sixty years. With the captain and crew dead, injured, or taken prisoner, Mason and the cadets are all that’s left to warn the ESC. And soon they find out exactly why the Tremist chose this ship to attack: the Egypt is carrying a weapon that could change the war forever. Now Mason will have to lead the cadets in a daring assault to take back the ship, rescue the survivors, and recover the weapon. Before there isn’t a war left to fight.”

My thoughts:  At first I thought that there was nothing new here: tired sci-fi themes, typical kidlit absent parents, a bit of Star Trek, a sprinkle of Ender's Game. But then I remembered that the target audience does not include Trekkies nor Ender's Game readers (and the movie is still months away) so I was just showing my middle age years!

To top it off, this story is highly engaging. The pacing is exceptionally good, with cliffhanger chapter endings and high adventure around each turn. The characters are well-drawn (villains too) and by the end we are fully invested, waiting on a sequel. In other words, don't judge a book by your preconceived middle-aged notions - by chapter three I was hooked!

Great middle grade title that appeals to many readers, especially boys and reluctant readers lured in by the action pacing. 

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Genre: Science Fiction
Age: Middle Grades (as low as 4th grade for some readers, as high as 8th for others)
Pages: 256 (hardcover)
Themes: Leadership, friendship, courage, pluck
Character Development: Good, looking forward to even more in the sequels
Plot Engagement: Quick and fast
Originality: Eh, close resemblance to Star Trek (with a nod or two to Star Wars), but it's not so obvious to today's youth
Believability: A couple typical sci fi "hmm, wonder if that is possible" moments, but nothing glaring
Thank You to the publisher - Starscape (a division of Tor/Macmillan Publishing) for my advanced, uncorrected eBook.
Date: May 2013
ISBN: 9780765334282
Buy The Planet Thieves HERE

Here is Chapter One

Here is Chapter Five

Read about the cover art here (there are several cool illustrations throughout the book too)

Dan Krokos pumped gas for nine years and likes to drink coffee. You can read more about the author on his publisher website here and on his website here.

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