2 out of 4 stars
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Chatterbox, the cat, is hanging out by a seaside cafe in hopes of getting someone to feed him something yummy. While waiting, he overhears three gentlemen discussing a plot to murder one Uncle Ron. The purpose is to release a virus when Uncle Ron's body is sent to space after being cryogenically frozen. This virus will kill the world's bees forcing everyone to buy bee robots. After hearing this, the cat gets a little overzealous in his quest for food and reveals his special gift. What special gift, you might ask? He can talk. Unfortunately, he reveals this to the three criminals forcing them to hunt him down lest the cat give away their plans.
Meanwhile, Devon BonFury is a child actor who enjoys playing pranks on his director. This time he's gone a bit too far, and his director has a heart attack. In his haste to get away, he hops into a skimmer with a different robot (one who likes to intersperse singing with talking.) Chatterbox has, also, found his way into this skimmer. Will the two misfits be able to team up together to save the world?
Chatterbox and the Rebooted Beebots was listed under the science fiction/fantasy category on OBC, but it is also listed in young adult on Amazon. The latter would be a better classification; as, while it is science fiction, it really is intended for a young audience. It is approximately 200 pages long.
When I first saw this listed for review, I passed it by. The title sounded a bit too foolish for me. I came across it again, and I figured that it was at least worth a try; after all, it is in one of my favorite genres. Sadly, the title is pretty indicative of what you will get when you read this book.
The plot was fairly straightforward, but nothing extremely new and different. A villain has plans to take over the world in one way or another, and others must stop him. The bee robots were an interesting touch as well as the talking cat. Once again, though, it's not necessarily original. I was hoping that, perhaps, the characters would be the redeeming quality in this novel.
Chatterbox is a grumpy cat, as some cats are. He speaks quite well - when he wants to. But he was a relatively flat character. Devon BonFury is young, but there are many young protagonists out there. Once again, we learn very little of his actual character. What does he like? What does he hate? What was his past like? What does he want for the future? Unfortunately, these questions go mostly unanswered. I can't think of one character in the book that I could identify with or walk away with more than the most basic of knowledge. To me, this really takes away from any enjoyment that I might have gleaned from reading the book.
The pacing was reasonably quick, yet I still struggled at reading the whole book. There wasn't enough to keep my mind engaged. I really wanted to give up on the book about halfway through and had to force myself to persevere. I think quite a bit of it had to do with being unable to relate to the characters. But it also seemed that the author was using elements like this talking cat to have a type of comedic effect. It just didn't work; I found myself staring at the screen with a dumb look on my face more often than not. Perhaps a younger audience would find this funny?
There is also a point in the novel where a group of hostages are introduced. A whole bunch of names are thrown at the reader in rapid succession, and the reader is expected to remember them all. There was nothing to set each person apart from the others, so I got lost very quickly in this passage. I couldn't keep track of who was who, and I honestly quit trying.
Along with that, there were elements that weren't quite explained well enough. BonFury is at one point telling others where everyone is located at in the building. Then another character says, "How'd you do that?" I thought, "How'd he do what?" All he was doing was pointing out where people were. I can't figure out what it was that I missed.
My overall impression of this novel is that it needs a bit of an editing before I would recommend it for any audience. I think that with the humor and plot, it is geared towards a young audience. Perhaps those that are just starting chapter books would enjoy a plot such as this. Unfortunately, the book is too long for such a child as well as the various confusing elements. Therefore, I'm not sure who would enjoy this book unless perhaps a parent is willing to read this out to his or her child (although I doubt the parent would get much enjoyment from that.)
It is unfortunate that I found Chatterbox and the Rebooted Beebots to be a struggle from start to finish. I'm positive that the author put much time and effort into this novel. I see tiny moments of brightness here and there, but I'm so confused as to the age of the targeted audience that I have no choice but to rate this 2 out of 4 stars.
Chatterbox and the Rebooted Beebots
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