Zachary Night and his fellow Starbounders return in the second volume in a convoluted series that crosses Star Trek with Harry Potter but neglects key ingredients such as theme, character or apparent purpose.
When readers last saw Zachary, he had survived his escapade on Callisto with a mysterious mark on his arm left by the late professor Olari. Now the Lightwings of Indigo 8 must decipher this mark and save the universe from total destruction. The ensuing quest involves a whirlwind tour of a galaxy bristling with gadgets, creatures and places like decibel graters, the robotic Cmdr. Keel and the planet Klenarog. The book’s strength is this creative, fleshed-out universe; unfortunately, having built it, the authors weave a narrative with no apparent objective, just a lot of incidents. Obstacle after obstacle is passed with such ease and efficiency that they can barely be called obstacles. Zachary and his friends learn little along the way and have equally little definition to them. The authors provide plenty of happenstance and commotion, but they don’t deliver on what matters: a reason to care about what’s happening. The slapdash adventure never fully engages, and the result is a shrug of a book that feels like a place holder until the next volume.
All flash and no substance, this sequel fails at raising the pulse or touching the heart. (Science fiction. 9-12)