A promising SF/fantasy/mystery blend, Schmid’s debut features an intrepid 12-year-old who picks up her parents’ trail a year after they vanish at an archeological dig on planet Lindos. That trail leads Violynne into brushes with the autocratic planetary Arbiter and with several sorts of enigmatic aliens, then into a dramatic flight that culminates in the discovery of an ancient time machine deep underground. As Schmid plays fast and loose with physical laws (specifically a moon that doesn’t affect the orbits of any of its near neighbors, despite having the gravity well of a black hole), this isn’t pure SF, but she creates a credible setting and keeps the pace up. She also stirs in suspense and political intrigue, provides Violynne with a good stock of native intelligence, plus a pair of colorful secret agents to give her a hand at need, and finishes off with a dramatic multiple rescue. This stands alone but could engender sequels—which would be a good thing, as well-crafted interstellar tales for this audience are rare. (Science fiction/fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-399-24460-5

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2008

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The conflict between individual and society takes place in a poorly constructed dystopia. Like everyone else in the colony of Harmony, Jacob is blind. The original 22nd-century colonists had turned to genetically engineered blindness to separate themselves from the sinful, bigoted Seers. Centuries later, the Truesighted colonists are proud of their controlled and violence-free society. As Jacob approaches his 13th birthday, he learns of cracks in Harmony’s purity: unevenly distributed food, government corruption, and the misery of his friend Delaney. As Jacob inexplicably gains sight (and becomes comfortable with concepts such as color and facial expression ridiculously quickly for a blind-from-birth boy in a blind society), he wonders if he can be reconciled to the rotten core of the only home he has ever known. An interesting concept marred by poor execution of the all-blind society and a too-evil villain. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-052285-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2004

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Like its predecessor The Sky Inside (2008), this sequel posits that no corrupt government is so powerful that it can’t be toppled by a boy and his robot dog. Frustrated with his uselessness among the genius children who make up the anti-government rebels, Martin and dog Chip return to domed Suburb HM1 to rescue Martin’s parents. In the ruins of an old-style outdoor suburb, Martin and his comfort-accustomed parents live a parody of a Leave It to Beaver lifestyle, unable to cope without television and convenience food. Ultimately, going it alone won’t be good enough, and Martin and his superpowered robot dog must confront the heart of the evil powers keeping his society subjugated. In a genre populated by gifted, destined and otherwise special child protagonists, Martin’s pure normality is a breath of fresh air. After an overly expository start, this simple tale provides comforting, enjoyable adventure. (Science fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-5379-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Ginee Seo/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2009

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