Posted by Venus on Monday, April 27, 2015
Labels: intermediate book review
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: January 28, 2014
Chase Garrety wakes up with no memory and a blaster wound to the back of his head. The only reason he knows his name is because the microchip that was implanted in his head was still functional enough to tell them who he was. At least the name part. But how did he wind up on a strange planet with a boy named Parker and his android? Why did he come here? Where did he come from? Most importantly, who wants him dead? The answers would be simpler if Parker wasn't treating the whole thing like some big space adventure, which is exactly what it turns into. This isn't some video game though, this is real life, and out in space, the stakes are high.
Oh amnesia. Although some people really love the amnesiac hero trope, too often this just feels like a gimmick. The amnesiac hero usually remembers some things, like how to speak English, but has forgotten everything including their own name. Either they remember somehow (or in this case are told it) or they make up their own nickname, which improbably has to do with their past. The hero usually has amazing fighting skills (think Jason Bourne) or they have some kind of superpower (like comic book hero Longshot). They quickly find their sidekick who will help them on their journey and often have dark and depressing pasts that they are not going to want to remember. Their amnesia is an easy way to get readers up to speed as they're being introduced to the world, while the character lives there and should otherwise know about it already. Tropes are not always bad, they bring a comfortability to storytelling, but it can lend itself to predictability as well.
Despite its predictable nature, I found this story to be very exciting with all the right adventure in all the right places. Chase isn't exactly an action-hero, but there is enough that happens around him to make up for it. The character that I never truly understood, the real mystery in my mind, is Parker. This boy who lives on a planet by himself with an android. A boy who is wickedly clever and is under the protection of a may who may or may not be a criminal mastermind. Being cut off from other people Parker shows little care or compassion for Chase although they do form a tenuous friendship by the end. The mystery surrounding Parker is almost as important as Chase's mystery, yet it wasn't answered in this first book.
As you may have noticed, this book is a little older, which is what happens when you stumble across a series that looks interesting and realize that you need to read the first book, even if it means not reading something brand new. In order to keep this blog relevant, I often struggle with myself over reading an older book versus a new book. My default is new because that is what people are looking for (I think. Tell me in the comments if you disagree). Yet, I own hundreds of books that I would love to re-read again. Perhaps this summer instead of doing graphic novels every Friday, I should write some reviews for some of my older books. It would give me a chance to re-read some of my favorites. Besides, reading books again, ones that I may not have read since I was a teenager, gives you a very different perspective.