A shaky but promising start to a new sci-fi YA trilogy.


In Edstrom’s debut young-adult novel, aliens live beneath the Canadian Rockies—much to the surprise of a group of teenagers on an extended backcountry hike.

Sixteen-year-old Danny Michaelson and his sister, Em, embark on a hike, led by the grizzled, veteran mountaineer Harvin, with their friends Wa, Breyona, Shiv and Bronson. Six days into the hike, Danny and Breyona encounter a strange, shrieking alien creature with two heads—and are then rescued by a “bigfoot.” Later, a bigfoot takes the teens to a vast underground city called Undermountain, where the shaggy humanoids, who call themselves “the People,” make their home. The People turn out to be a benign alien race whose members take an oath to “do no harm,” and they’ve settled on Earth to protect humanity from the shrieking aliens, known as the tangeg. Edstrom creatively blends folklore and science fiction; the novel’s most original and best conceit is that the legendary bigfoot is an alien species—not a missing link in humanity’s evolution. The interaction between the species is absorbing, as is the novel’s examination of the philosophical problems facing a pacifist society under attack. Unfortunately, the human characters often lack this complexity and sometimes come off as two-dimensional. Shiv, for example, speaks in near-robotic phrases, such as “Let us keep our voices low so the others don’t overhear.” Although this quirk is likely meant as characterization, it instead rings hollow. However, this novel does have some engaging ideas, and it combines elements of young-adult adventure, cryptozoology and alien invasion, with just a touch of “Hollow Earth” theory, to create a rollicking tale of discovery.

A shaky but promising start to a new sci-fi YA trilogy.

Pub Date: March 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-1470058876

Page Count: 354

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2013

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From the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series , Vol. 1

Edgar Award–winning Riordan leaves the adult world of mystery to begin a fantasy series for younger readers. Twelve-year-old Percy (full name, Perseus) Jackson has attended six schools in six years. Officially diagnosed with ADHD, his lack of self-control gets him in trouble again and again. What if it isn’t his fault? What if all the outrageous incidents that get him kicked out of school are the result of his being a “half-blood,” the product of a relationship between a human and a Greek god? Could it be true that his math teacher Mrs. Dodds transformed into a shriveled hag with bat wings, a Fury, and was trying to kill him? Did he really vanquish her with a pen that turned into a sword? One need not be an expert in Greek mythology to enjoy Percy’s journey to retrieve Zeus’s master bolt from the Underworld, but those who are familiar with the deities and demi-gods will have many an ah-ha moment. Along the way, Percy and his cohort run into Medusa, Cerberus and Pan, among others. The sardonic tone of the narrator’s voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism that questions the realities of our world, family, friendship and loyalty. (Fantasy. 12-15)

Pub Date: July 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7868-5629-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2005

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Sophie is caught between a powerful witch and wizard who are terrorizing the magical land of Ingary. Living a humdrum life as a hatter till the malicious Witch of the Waste casts a spell turning her into an old woman, Sophie seeks refuge as cleaning woman to Wizard Howl (although he's rumored to eat the hearts of young girls) in his castle, which moves at will about the countryside. Actually, Howl is a brash young man whose only vice is womanizing. He is a gifted wizard but the despair of his inept apprentice and of Calcifer, a humorously petulant fire demon, because of such human faults as messiness and spending too long in the bath. As in her memorable Archer's Goon, Jones has a plethora of characters who are seldom what they seem and an intricate plot which may dazzle with its complexity or delight by the hilarious common-sense consequences of its preposterous premises. Sophie is a dauntless heroine; when she regains her youth and wins Howl, the odds are this is only the beginning of a tempestuous romance. Great fun.

Pub Date: April 14, 1986

ISBN: 0061478784

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1986

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