4 out of 4 stars
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Su-Shu Huang, AKA Zero, is twelve years old, does not get along with his brothers, and loves to float around in zero gravity. In his futuristic world, he and his family are preparing to enter stasis for the 105-year journey to the Murasaki System on the Pathfinder, a high-tech spacecraft equipped with all the things they’ll need to start a colony on a far-off planet. The trip should be simple enough, but 28 days later, Zero finds himself the only one of the 20,000 passengers suddenly awakened. What caused the malfunction? Why is the pilot missing, and why does the artificial intelligence (AI) have a missing block of memory?
Suspicious activity, shenanigans, and space pirates are all part of the fun in Dan Wells' debut middle grade novel, Zero G.
Zero G reveals its strengths through a simple, yet exciting plot that is sure to keep a young audience riveted. With educational undertones, Zero engages in numerous conversations with Sancho, the Navigational AI, who informs Zero and the reader about topics vital to the plot. With definitions of speed, acceleration, and the effects of zero gravity, Wells keeps the information easy to digest without slowing down the flow of the story.
Wells also includes quite a bit of humor and keeps the action violence to an appropriate level for middle schoolers. Trust me, no aliens or space pirates were severely injured in the writing of this book, although some of them may think twice about what they eat for their next meal.
I think the only thing that was somewhat annoying in the story was the amount of arguing between Zero and his two older brothers. As a mom, I found it got on my nerves, but young readers may find it relatable. They may even take Zero’s side against the evil older siblings. Still, the book centers around Zero, and we do not see the brothers again after their stasis is initiated.
The book was clearly edited by a professional, and only one or two minor typos made it into the final draft. With short chapters and 150 pages, I recommend this book to 8-14 year-olds or families looking for a fun read-along adventure. I confidently rate this book a 4 out of 4. Promised as the first book in the Zero Chronicles, I look forward to future installments in Zero's ongoing story. Readers may also be interested to know that an audiobook version is available.
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