In this fourth installment of a YA gonzo sci-fi series, two teenage galactic adventurers find themselves teleported across the universe to save, well, literally everything from an all-devouring black hole.
Warrensberg, Minnesota, alias “Dorkville,” is home to the two protagonists, who in the course of previous novels attained recognition all through the cosmos as troubleshooting heroes. On a seemingly ordinary day, 16-year-old Wilkin Delgado and his upstairs housemate, the 17-year-old, superpowered, warrior princess/fashion icon Alice Jane Zelinski LLC (having taken over most extraterrestrial business enterprises in an earlier tale), are teleported far away to the “Flipside” of outer space. Wilkin finds his old mentor, cosmic “plumber” Cardamon Webb, has yet another EOE (End of Everything) crisis on hand. Alice Jane, meanwhile, learns she’s been erroneously declared dead, but her quest sets her on a parallel path to the same dilemma: in a few days, a rogue black hole will consume the universe unless something is done. The search for answers involves an ancient, planet-sized spaceship gone haywire on a salvage-recycling mission, a few cryptic lines of alien religious scripture, and an endless, pointless, carnage-filled ground war against an indeterminate foe. The author steals a joke from Douglas Adams and the classic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by offering a fourth volume in a declared Warrensberg Trilogy. As in the preceding books, Ammerman (Waiting for the Voo, 2014, etc.) has the two leads narrating alternating chapters (which tend to conclude in cliffhangers), Wilkin in his more levelheaded voice making an amusing contrast with the self-aggrandizing and aggressive Alice Jane. The plot is one darned thing after another, often referencing characters and events of the saga’s previous installments, but it never bores or condescends to the YA demographic (violence quotient is, in fact, quite high; sex is nothing to worry about). Brevity is just about right for the breezy material, and readers who have followed these daring frenemies and their daffy exploits should find this very much in keeping with its predecessors.
A fast-paced space-capade whose apocalyptic elements are more comedy than gravity.