Illustrations by Sarah McIntyre
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: September 4, 2014
Astra's family are on their way to their new home on Nova Mundi. The only problem is, it will take 199 years to get there. Not to worry, everyone will be held in suspended animation, sleeping away two centuries in sleeping pods. The only problem is that before Astra falls asleep she instructs the food machine in the canteen to make her the most wonderful brilliant cake ever. And so for a century, while everyone slept, the machine kept churning out cakes one after another. When Astra wakes, only halfway to their final destination the ship is in deep trouble. They have been knocked off course, there are killer cakes on the loose, and a gang of alien Poglites are planning on stripping the ship bare. And we won't even mention the Nameless Horror that is stalking her.
Now, isn't it interesting that in the same week I happen to review and read two books featuring Sarah McIntyre as an illustrator? It wasn't on purpose and I didn't even notice until I began writing the review. Perhaps it is my general love of science fiction or that fact that there are so few hard sci-fi's for this age group, but I completely loved this odd little book. The tone had a vague Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy mixed with some Space Rocks!, in a way that made the story fun and entirely awesome. Don't get me wrong, I know killer cakes is a weird concept, but it works in the context of the story. Astra is an adorable character, aptly named, and rather heroic despite the many terrible things that are happening to her. I don't know if this is a planned series, but I am quite interested in knowing what happens next. Do the grownups believe her when they wake up? What about the Nameless Horror? I want more information about it, by the way. Is Nova Mundi the paradise they are hoping for or are there aliens there too?
A great bridger books for kids moving out of chapter books, but aren't quite ready for Harry Potter, this one is sure to be a quick read that will make you smile.