THE BEAST OF CRETACEA by Todd Strasser

THE BEAST OF CRETACEA

Age Range: 12 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Moby-Dick on an alien planet.

Having left the arid, chemical-laden, dying Earth for a yearlong assignment, Ishmael awakens from stasis already on the Pequod, a ship in the middle of the ocean on a planet called Cretacea. He’s never seen an ocean before—nor rain, nor plants, nor solid food, nor nonhuman animals like the sea creatures this ship is hunting. He needs money to buy his foster parents passage off of Earth, but Capt. Ahab’s singular, manic focus on killing the Great Terrafin (think: white whale) prevents the crew from harvesting other sea animals, despite the profit they offer. Strasser crams in a lot: post-apocalyptic Earth, ship life, enthusiastic and bloody sea hunting, time travel, naturally occurring opioids, pirates, stereotypically simple-hearted islanders, inexplicable and pointless dialects, and a blind man who smells information. The rusty, old Pequod is powered by nuclear reactor, and technological gadgets—tablets, magnetic levitation, drones that track sea life—make strange bedfellows for harpoons and people unaware of the concept of reading. Despite the science-fiction premise—including a surprise late reveal—this has a pure adventure core; Ishmael undergoes no emotional growth arc whatsoever, and his characterization comes straight from lost-heir fantasy.

An odd combination of genres and tropes for fans of old-fashioned adventure. (author’s note, glossary) (Science fiction/adventure. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-7636-6901-0
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2015




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