Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Skyship Academy by Nick James (Guest Post by Nat's XO)

XO here again. Lucky you! I was between books, and Nat said, “Oh, dear husband, I have just the book, one that I think will suit your tastes and reflects all the qualities that I know you love in a book my darling!” OK, it was more like, “you need a book?” “here….” (My version is so much sweeter, right?)

Sometimes an author goes into the head of a character and writes like that person thinks. Or so that’s the idea. When that person is a 12 year old malcontent, pissed off at the world and his lot in it, it’s sort of hard to follow right off the bat. Skyship Academy : The Pearl Wars starts out in the middle of the action, right in the first round in a new conflict between two kids, who represent the two major powers of 2095 USA (barely recognizable to us silly 2012’ers). Jesse and Cassius are about to find out that neither is what they appear, and their chance encounter is the trigger that releases special powers in each of them. I have to pause here. The back cover of this book had me very excited, it looked right up my alley, with some military sci-fi, a good mystery, some super powers. Come on, that’s got the makings of a great movie, right?! OK, back to the book. I started and stopped, and re-started the first chapter 4 times. And that’s very unusual for me. As stated above, I totally understand what the author was going for, get us in the mind of Jesse, and make us like the stories unlikely hero. Well, sadly, all I found him was annoying, and hard to understand (Much like me after tee many martoonies). Author Nick James (yes, I kept saying “I’m Rick James, B**CH” in my head every time I saw his name) has created a fascinating world, right down to evolved slang and speech. Which is great, provided you explain that up front. Instead I’m re-reading whole paragraphs trying to decipher just what the heck he’s talking about. It was mass irritating. Huh? Mass? Yup, that’s the word in Jesse’s vocabulary that apparently has the same meaning as Smurf, and you can just substitute it in various places. Grrrrr.

Once you get out of Jesse’s perspective, the book does get a lot better, and it’s a fast paced story, like a junior version of a Bourne novel, or maybe a Clive Cussler NUMA adventure. Lots of action, really interesting twists and turns, and an overall fun story. Both kids are unprepared for the world outside their homes, an Academy of sorts for Jesse, floating high in the sky above modern day Northern California, and for Cassius, the city of Rochester New York, which has become one of a few Chosen Cities will all the comforts of a modern technological wonder, without that pesky post apocalyptic feel of the rest of the ol’ USA. The book centers on Jesse’s struggle to get to where he was found by the Skyshippers, in old Seattle, just days after a devastating bio-attack that left every other living thing in Seattle dead, and Cassius’ struggle to catch Jesse to figure out what’s happening to him.

The book is meant to be the first in a series, and after some of the twists and turns, I will most likely read the 2nd, and see if adding a few years to Jesse makes his mind any less annoying, but I’ll probably not have it on the top of my list.

Signing off, before I get a book thrown at me,

The XO

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