4 out of 4 stars
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The Catarbie Conspiracy: Book One of the Houkura Series by Sabrina deSouza is a sci-fi adventure book that describes life on a fictional planet called Houkura. The story began with Danika, Finn, and Robb, who were all interested for different reasons in the Marjory House that had a fire years ago in a fictional town of Dartona, Australia. They suddenly found themselves on a beach in a different world. They did not know where they were or how they got there. The three young adults explored the new world, Houkura and met many of the Impex people there. They found themselves more and more involved in the lives of the people and learned of their strange illness, called Catarbie that made people become catatonic, violent, and eventually disappear. The threesome encountered mutant and dangerous plants and saw different kinds of animals. The author did not describe the Houkura people as alien looking, rather they looked like humans from Earth, but they had special ways to communicate and had different powers. Their houses were very unique, and it was like the three humans were in a foreign country, having to learn even how the toilets worked.
You will need to read the book to find out about some of the Impex people of Houkura: Zoltan, Krysta, and Tahreen, a family with special magical powers; Gredat, the boy who first helped the three from Earth; and Boltza, the strange man with dark powers. Read and find out what the “weesas”, “baracs”, and the “karachs” are and how they attack people and animals. There were many different characters included in the story, and I found that the glossary added at the end of the book helped me to keep clear about the main characters, animals, plants, and special terminology used.
I liked best the discovery of special powers that Danika and Robb had that were developed as needed, for protection and survival on the alien planet. Teamwork and cooperation among the people were necessary to survive attacks. I liked that even though the author used very descriptive and detailed language in writing of the environments of Houkura, with its mutant plants and strange creatures, there were colorful pictures in almost every chapter of the book. The author also has an image gallery of the main characters, mutant plants, creatures, and more on her website (www. Houkura.com). I found it interesting that she also included her sketches of concepts that she sent to the illustrator with the end results.
If I had to state what I liked the least about the book, it would be that in the beginning, the author used repetitive phrases to describe Finn putting his hands on his hips as he was talking, and Danika’s overuse of “God” as an expression. Though these things may have been describing their character, it was too repetitive for me, and I didn’t see the need for it. I was glad to see these things lessened further into the book. There wasn’t anything else that I did not like.
The book was well edited, as I only detected one comma missing and one missing letter from a word in the whole book. The author used Australian English spellings, such as, “focussed”, “realised”, “rationalising”, and “chequered”. Some of the words used were different from American English, such as, “rucksack” for a backpack and “firies” for firefighters. However, these differences did not affect my understanding of the book, they simply increased my vocabulary.
Older children, teens, young and older adults would all like this book. People who like a mixture of fantasy, magic, mystery, science fiction, faith, suspense, and adventure will like The Catarbie Conspiracy the best. People who prefer reading non-fiction books would like this book the least. I rate The Catarbie Conspiracy 4 out of 4 stars. I enjoyed reading the well-written story, and I liked the adventure of Danika, Robb, and Finn on the planet Houkura, as I did not know what to expect next. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series, The Tcholla.
The Catarbie Conspiracy
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