3 out of 5 stars.
This review contains spoilers.
Christopher and his family live on the planetoid Perseus as miners. They are part of the Great Mission that sends back valuable and much needed minerals back to a resource strapped Earth. They have just entered a 2 month blackout, during which communications to Earth are cut off, when the mining colony is attacked. All of the adults are killed and Christopher and his friends are forced to flee to the depths of the mines to survive. Christopher’s father has left him a map to locate a beacon that can send a distress signal to earth as soon as the 2 months are up, but Christopher can’t uncode it.
This is a book written in a style appropriate for the given age range of 8-12, but I am not sure the content is something appropriate for that age group. The prose style is a very direct and straightforward, with not many descriptions or introspection into the internal lives of the characters. The novel has a very quick pace, with the majority of the writing being action.
The plot of the novel is closer to something you would find in a book for teens. Adults all get killed, some of Christopher’s friends die, and one boy betrays them to save his father who has been captured. The father is then executed.
As a librarian, I think that all kids should have access to the vast majority of books without censorship, I just don’t know if this book would appeal to 8 and 9 year olds. There is a lot of death that is dealt with very starkly. It is up to the children and their parents to decide what the child is mature enough to handle, but I would be almost tempted to put this in the YA section of the library. It might be an excellent book for teen readers who are struggling.
There was nothing really about this book that struck me as unique besides the setting. The writing was not notable, we do not get to know the characters very well, nor do they jump off the page. I felt that this was a fairly cookie cutter work. Good for people who do not read science fiction, but dull for those that know the genre.