Can Earth Space Command cadet Mason Stark safeguard a shaky intergalactic peace?
Mason and his fellow cadets brokered peace between humans and Tremist forces, but not before the Earth was snatched from our solar system and deposited near the Tremist homeworld (The Planet Thieves, 2013). Now the grand admiral of the ESC has heard rumors that Tremists are working on a weapon that violates the treaty. Since Mason has a standing invitation to study at the Rhadgast school, an academy for Tremist soldiers, the admiral wants Mason and his best friend, Tom, to spy for the ESC. It will be dangerous, but Mason’s interested, as a Rhadgast told him he might learn the truth of what happened to his parents at the school. In the sometimes-hostile environment of a new school on a new planet, mysteries abound…and one might hold the key to fending off the impending invasion of the monstrous Fangborn. This sequel is Harry Potter in sci-fi robes. Boy seen as hero is thrust into a new school in an unfamiliar culture and sorted into a section of the school by a mysterious ritual, and he investigates when students begin to disappear. The fine mystery/adventure breaks down at the unsatisfying conclusion, which attempts to set up a third volume. Mason’s an interesting character, but those around him don’t develop much.
It’s good fluff, but it doesn’t satisfy the dire need for well-wrought SF for preteens. (Science fiction. 9-12)