A grand series opener that introduces characters worthy of further sci-fi adventures.


In this YA debut, a teenage cadet at a space academy on the moon becomes unsettled by the abundance of mystery—and potential danger—surrounding the school.

After checking on a strange light in his bedroom closet, 15-year-old Bobby Sterling somehow wakes up strapped to a table. It’s not an alien abduction, as Bobby guesses, but merely professor Bink checking the teen’s vitals. The professor welcomes Bobby to Apeiron Academy, a prestigious school on the moon. Bobby is just one of numerous cadets, though most of them are there voluntarily as opposed to his unwitting recruitment. The cadets train in combat, using specialized technology for teleportation. Bobby, meanwhile, has no idea why the academy specifically chose him, but then he can’t get straightforward answers from any of the Apeiron faculty. Why, for one, does a machine called a Hovee appear to be searching the hallways? Bobby suspects the professor and others are hiding something, which may be related to a rumored incident at the academy 25 years ago. Fed up with murky details, Bobby starts questioning the cadets’ assigned missions. One in particular involves cloaking antennae for communication, which suggests that something out there is a threat to everyone at the school. Mueller’s launch of a sci-fi series establishes a convincing, likable protagonist. Bobby’s relentless questions are perfectly understandable, as is his resultant frustration with adults telling him relatively little. The story primarily revolves around Bobby’s learning about unfamiliar tech (for example, the telepathic thoughtboard) and interacting with peers. Though action is fleeting, the story deftly molds characters and relationships: Bobby has two possible romantic interests and an antagonist. The teen likewise recognizes and struggles to overcome his faults. All cadets get a robopanion, and Bobby becomes envious of others’ (his dog initially pales next to roommate Max’s dragon). Mueller’s prose is rich and ample but does occasionally fall flat: “a GPS like looking device” and an amusement park gate that’s “gloomy and science fiction like.”

A grand series opener that introduces characters worthy of further sci-fi adventures.

Pub Date: March 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-73212-850-7

Page Count: 294

Publisher: Graphixela

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2018

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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