A Crack in the Sky Book Review

A Crack in the Sky (Greenhouse Chronicles) by Mark Peter Hughes

Eli Papodapolous has lived in the domes all his life. Built by his grandfather and run by InfiniCorp, which his entire family runs, Eli's life is one of ease and comfort. However, something is wrong. The domes are hotter than ever, the sky advertisements are just plain weird, and the Foggers (those trying to bring down InfiniCorp) are trying to recruit him. Eli wants the truth, but not if it means betraying his family. Meanwhile, Tabitha is a traitor and she has learned that she must take care of herself to survive and escape InfiniCorp's relearning program, a high-tech brainwashing scheme. Neither Tabitha nor Eli realize that their quests are the same and they will need each other to find the truth.

A Crack in the Sky is a book with a very clear message concerning global warming, but a fresh voice, interesting what ifs, and fast paced plot save this would-be sermon. Eli is a character that children can relate to. He wants to please his parents and his family, but there are questions that demand answers and not even his loyalty can thwart his curiosity. This leads him on a path that is self-destructive, but with hints of a promise towards salvation. Tabitha too has questions, but perhaps believes a little too quickly what she is told and trades one lie for another. When confronted with possible truths, Tabitha loses her faith in everything which is possibly worse. There is also a third character, an altered mongoose who speaks with Eli telepathically and is their miraculous savior due to gifts that she isn't sure the full depth of.

The story itself is rather obvious. The domes were built to escape the global warming, a temporary solution until things cool down, however things aren't cooling down and the domes are beginning to lose their battle with the changing planet. Instead of letting people know of their impending doom, InfiniCorp chooses to keep everyone in the dark, brainwashing them into nonchalance. When Eli probes, it becomes clear that humanity will die a slow death completely unaware of what is happening. The company has chosen to be comfortable even though there were plenty of opportunities to take the harder less comfortable path that could have brought back the planet. Very preachy.

Again, the characters and plot twists are fun and interesting, a mash up of Dune, Logan's Run, and The Matrix. Hughes clearly thought a lot about the book, global warming, and characters thoroughly, making this far better than that Empty mess of a book. The cover art is beautiful, by Per Haagensen. I could have done without the author's note at the end, which was basically a note to young readers reminding them what the "message" of the book really is and that the series is fictional. It's as if the author doesn't trust his reader's enough to get it and to do their own research if they have questions. Another nice addition to the dystopian sci-fi genre.