After their parents are abducted by an alien spacecraft, three siblings fight to become reunited with them in this YA science-fiction novel.
The Daginoors—mother and father, 14-year-old Maggie, 10-year-old Loch and 7-year-old Sten—seem much like any other family on their way to a vacation in Orlando, Florida, as this story opens. All Maggie can think about is how boring the drive is—until they’re attacked by a UFO. That’s the first surprise; the second occurs when her father pushes some buttons and transforms their Durango into a supersonic flying craft. The siblings find temporary safety in a hidden base on the moon after their parents are abducted on Earth. Their family is actually Galloran, here on Earth as escapees from Caselu, a planet that’s been taken over by the Eeoo and their enslaved soldiers. Through a series of adventures and mishaps taking them beyond their hideaway on the moon to the Yukon and Caselu itself, the children must dig deep to survive and fight their way back to their parents. In his debut novel, Bravo does some interesting worldbuilding, with a good amount of science in his science fiction: Caselu, for example, lies on a horizontal axis so that its north side is always sunny; the Eeoo are a gelatinous, genderless race who can simply ooze out of any binding. Some aspects are less imaginative, as in a moon colony that’s in some ways similar to an American suburb and a Caselu vehicle that resembles a Durango. Bravo’s writing can be plodding: “Once dressed, he walked to the mirror and ran a comb through his wet orange hair. Then he took a towel and dried his neck of the water brought down upon it by the comb.” Why else would he dry his neck? The story also reflects some odd tics, including a tendency to describe people’s noses closely and often. Elsewhere, though, Bravo achieves some nice descriptive effects, such as armor-encased Galloran fighters “like glassy, angry, wingless wasps.” And the theme of children left to manage on their own is always appealing to young readers, with each Daginoor sibling given a chance to shine.
Many adventurous escapades help to enliven this sometimes-stodgy sci-fi tale.