3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Space Patrol! by Sarah Nicole Nadler is an entertaining journey from Earth to deep space and back. The main characters are diverse teenagers and aliens, and I enjoyed reading about all of them. Nadler indicates she wrote this book to help youth understand slavery, particularly modern-day human trafficking. I think she has provided a useful weapon in the fight.
As the book begins, Lissa and Stephanie are living in a boarding school in Switzerland when they are captured by space pirates. The girls find themselves on a spaceship equipped with compartments designed to hold creatures from across the galaxy, including humans. Their captors are slave traders, and they are on their way to a sale. Lissa, smart and determined, takes advantage of situations around her and does more than just escape. She frees others, and they fight an organization that thrives on money generated by selling sentient beings.
Space Patrol! is a young adult steampunk novel. I loved the combination of cool steam-powered contraptions with advanced space technology. The slave ship is actually a space-worthy galleon! Nadler does a great job creating alien life forms, her descriptions vivid and imaginative. I could also picture the different space ships and worlds that they visited. My favorite descriptions in the book were probably those of costumes, from Lissa’s steampunk outfit (complete with Converse tennis shoes) to the indigenous clothing of the other captured Earthlings from Ethiopia and Kazakhstan. The author also does a good job of describing the action on the ship so that the reader can follow, but there is not so much that readers will get bogged down in intricate details.
Unfortunately, this book is not well-edited. There were several editing mistakes, including misspelled words and punctuation issues. There are also issues with details. The principal character, Lissa, is described as an eleven-year-old four times and a fourteen-year-old five times. And, there is one random illustration in the book. It is placed near the end and seems completely out of place. Details like this certainly should have been caught and corrected prior to publication. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars, taking one star for editing issues.
I recommend this book for audiences young adult and older who enjoy space operas and steampunk novels. I also recommend it to parents and teachers who would utilize it to discuss the evils of slavery past and present with their children. This book contains some adult language and violence, but there are no sexual situations and no gore. One of the characters is a creepy, lecherous man who makes females feel uncomfortable by the way he looks at them. I think that both girls and boys should be taught to recognize that feeling as an innate warning sign.
I appreciate the fact that this book is written to help tweens and teens learn about the ugly business of human trafficking. The author does a great job of introducing what slavery is. But she goes beyond that and includes people who run these trafficking rings without consideration of the harm they are causing to people. If you are interested in knowing more about the problems of human trafficking, including both sex trafficking and labor trafficking, you may want to check out www.PolarisProject.org and www.ijm.org.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like sarahmarlowe's review? Post a comment saying so!