After a brief stay on Earth after Randoms (2015), Zeke struggles with a new space mission and the possibility of the Phandic Empire striking back.
After extensive debriefing upon his planetary return, white American Zeke is forbidden from contacting the international friends that he shared his space adventure with and barred from telling ordinary earthlings about the intergalactic community. So it’s back to being a bullied geek, with a catch—an extraterrestrial life-form has taken up residence in his head, advising Zeke how to get back to space (and rescue Tamret) in between insults. After some on-Earth action, Zeke’s back in the game just in time for a crucial mission to recover the recently discovered “skill tree” that the Phandic Empire already has access to. As soon as he’s back in Confederation space, Zeke’s in detention, accused of destroying a spaceship again. He falls into a tangled web of conspiracy, back-stabbing, and politicking—one that could turn deadly at any moment, especially due to the increasingly violent Movement for Peace, which campaigns against “primitive and carnivorous species.” The geekery is strong (with some characters giving Zeke a run for his money), as are the action and wit. While readers will likely guess the biggest twist before Zeke does, there are plenty of other surprises as the stakes ramp up to a cliffhanger.
Grade-A geeky fun. (Science fiction. 10-16)