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Author: P.J. Haarsma

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Publisher: Candlewick Press,

Material: hard cover

Summary: When last we saw them, JT, the Softwire, and his fellow earthlings had just helped Theylor and the Keepers put down a conspiracy by Trading Council Member, Madame Lee and Weegan. Theylor's efforts to find a new Keeper for JT and his friends was proving difficult because the citizens of Orbis 2 have very strong opinions of earthlings (none of them good). JT and his friends are in a precarious situation with little hope of ever being free. Danger lurks everywhere. This is book two in a fantasy series for preteens, but with a story sophisticated enough for teens.

Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book, remedial reader

Recommended Age: Read together: 10 and up; read yourself: 10 and up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Reading Level: 5

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: For me, this is a 7 out of 10. Space fantasy lovers will give it a 10 for sure. The author remains focused on his goal of using science fiction to capture the reluctant and/or non-engaged reader.

Pros: This is a well crafted piece of science fiction. SciFi enthusiasts and reluctant readers will be captivated by the adventures.

Cons: The cast of characters, the number of plots and sub-plots and overall pace of the book may well be an obstacle for sustaining the interest of reluctant readers. Given the intended audience, illustrations would be an asset to the series, as well.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This series will captivate the science fiction enthusiast and appeal to the reluctant reader at whom the book is targeted. This would be an excellent birthday gift or Christmas present stocking stuffer.

If You Liked This Book, Try: GALAHAD 1: THE COMET'S CURSE   GONE   RAIRARUBIA (The Rairarubia Tales, Book 1)

Educational Themes: Even in fantasy, there are elements we can draw out for the real world. The tensions and emotions (jealousy, mistrust, control) are those kids experience in their own lives. They can also learn about the price of freedom.

Notes: The Reading Tub, Inc. received an Advance Reader Copy of this book for review.

Literary Categories: Fiction - fantasy, adventure, middle grade series, coming of age

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2009

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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