The abducted children from hundreds of worlds are being held prisoner on a destroyed planet and forced to hunt for technological relics for an evil overlord.
Whether it is the alien Overseers or the insect cyborg Nightwatchers, violence is a constant for the “grubs.” But one boy, Daniel Coldstar, refuses to be cowed. During an expedition into the mines, he discovers an ancient relic capable of defeating their captors. But without a map and with only spotty memories, finding a way out proves difficult. When Daniel meets the ultimate enemy, who uses lies to control his minions, Daniel must figure out how to make both his mind and his heart believe the truth. The fates of his friends and the known universe depend upon it. Confusing worldbuilding and a too-large cast hamstring this fast-paced and explosive series debut. Short chapters with cliffhanger endings will keep the pages turning, but stilted dialogue, spotty descriptive details, and clichéd villains keep this innovative adventure from hitting its stride. Grotesqueries, such as characters with fingernails instead of hair and no pupils, make up the human diversity in this future setting. A glossary of unfamiliar terms is included; it reveals some of the politics that underlie Pavlou’s world.
Outrageously creative but often confusing. (Science fiction. 9-13)