Young Lucky is awakened one night to discover his linens seared by fire after having a dream of flying among the stars—but it was no dream.
Immediately after discovering that he has had a true out-of-body galactic experience, Lucky’s mother packs their belongings to flee their home planet, Aries One. Her plan is violently thwarted by the nefarious Shadow Guards, and Lucky is separated from his mother. He is forced to escape the planet on a spaceship occupied by a family of horned Aliens, a species that co-exists with Humans throughout the galaxy (not always peacefully). What starts as a suspenseful tale quickly turns sideways as Lucky discovers that the frightening, demonic Aliens he’s always feared don’t carry many traits different from Humans other than horns and hooves. Aside from the irritating notion that every species in the galaxy speaks English, the no-nonsense plot, in which Lucky discovers the origin of his ever surfacing power while on his first journey through the galaxy, unfolds smoothly. His innocence never turns into the annoying superpower bravado that often accompanies young apprentices, and it is underscored by Said’s straightforward, even naïve narrative style. McKean’s illustrations of Lucky’s communions with the godlike Twelve Astraeus add haunting visuals. Lucky’s race is not indicated.
An astrological twist on an age-old story; the echoes of Star Wars, The Golden Compass, and A Wrinkle in Time should win it fans. (Science fiction. 10-13)