Synopsis From Back Cover:
Shamira is considered an outcast by most, but little does anyone know that she is on a mission. Kids on Mars are disappearing, but Shamira decides to use the criminals' most unlikely weapons against them-the very kids they have captured.
In order to succeed, she is forced to trust another person, something she is afraid to do. However, Valens, her connection to the underworld of her enemy, proves to be a useful ally. Time is slipping, and so is her control on the power that resides within her. Yet in order to save her brother's life, she is willing to risk everything.
Shamira is a interesting character to read about. She starts of blind, which was caused by a childhood incident, and at first you think this will hold her back. She is walking home from school, but she is baiting the bad guys, she wants them to make a grab for her so she can kick their butts. When her wish comes true and one of them makes an attempt, it's interrupted by Valens who assumes that since she is blind, she can't take care of herself. Little does he know that Shamira is more than capable of kicking a little butt.
Her vigilantism is quickly discovered by her parents, who are members of the elite defense force that rules and patrols the Martian populace. When things start to get a little too dangerous her father brings her back to Earth to get her eyes fixed, along with a few other enhancements. After the surgery, they find out that her little brother, who is her only friend, has been kidnapped by the drug dealers who are trying to take over the planet.
Once they get back home, and while her parents are busy trying to keep the planet from plunging into chaos, Shamira takes it upon herself to find her brother. With the help of Valens and other kids who have freed themselves from the bad guys, Shamira sets off to do just that. At first, she doesn't trust these kids, but as time goes on she not only starts to trust them but to like them as well. For the first time Shamira is allowing herself to be liked by others and to form relationships with others outside her family. The growth she experiences in both her physical capabilities and her emotional state of being are truly something worth reading and what I think makes her a dynamic character that kids can look up to.
Now back when I reviewed the author's previous book, Explorer X-Alpha, I stated that if the setting was high fantasy I would have enjoyed it more than I did reading something set in outer space. I still feel that way after reading this one, but I'm starting to understand the appeal of science taken to the next level and of stories that take place on other planets. This was a fast paced book where the characters were constantly having to react to the events around them, I'm not sure that would have worked within a fantasy setting.
Aidan and I read this one together and I think that's the other reason I enjoyed this one a bit more. While reading Explorer X-Alpha I kept getting annoyed by the writing and would have to remind myself this was aimed at readers quite a bit younger than I am, well a lot younger than I am. This time around by watching and hearing Aidan react to the story, I found myself getting into quite a bit more and the writing style seemed to be at just the right level. Obviously, while I was reading this to Aidan, I did leave out some parts that I don't think a 7 year old should hear, but don't let that stop you from giving this to your older children, which this book is aimed at. I'm really looking forward to sharing more of LM Preston's work with my son.
Time For The Giveaway
One lucky commenter on this post will win a copy of the book, a poster, and a magnet. Plus every one who wins during this blog tour will automatically receive a copy of Bandits, LM Preston's upcoming book, which will be released in Spring of 2011.
To win, all you have to do is leave a comment about what intrigues you about this book or even the genre. All entrants must be a follower of this blog, either through Google Friend Connect or some other avenue. Please let me know in the comment how you follow my blog. I will assume this giveaway is open to US residents only, but if I find out different I will let you know. The giveaway will run till 11:59 pm CST on 6/22/10.