Space Runners: The Moon Platoon - A Review
When I picked up Space Runners: The Moon Platoon, I was expecting a light, entertaining Young Adult (YA) read. What I found was something with more depth, and a plot twist that I didn’t see coming.
In the year 2085, Benny is a young boy who lives in the Drylands. There, he and his caravan scavenge for enough food and water. After the death of his father, he’s thrust into caring for the caravan, his grandmother, and two younger brothers. But after winning a scholarship from the Earth’s most prestigious techy, Elijah West, Benny finds himself headed to the first off-earth resort on the moon, the Lunar Taj. Benny knows the scholarship gives him the opportunity to better life for his family, make new friends, and embark on space adventures. But soon it becomes clear he and the other scholarship winners are in danger, and Benny unveils a secret Elijah West meant to keep hidden. Read a full summary here.
There are two things that made this a fun read: the technology and the characters. I’m not sure if Kraatz has played too many video games or is just a huge Star Wars fan, but either way I’m impressed with the world he created at the Lunar Taj. It’s a fun concept to engage young readers.
The Lunar Taj is a resort, but also a hub for the most advanced technology. The Taj alone has it’s own artificial atmosphere. The most popular of Elijah West’s inventions is the Space Runner. Think classic cars that can be thrown into hyper-drive and defy gravity to hover on earth and in space. Benny is able to experience technology he would never have had the opportunity to otherwise. I don’t want to divulge too much about Kraatz’s imaginative tech in 2085, but it’s one I would love to take part in. He’s created an engaging world for the techy, gamer, and space lover.
Four main characters make up the Space Runner gang, and one comedic supporting character. Our main, of course is Benny. The first thing we learn about Benny is not only that he’s poor, but coming from the Drylands he’s also an outcast. This drastically sets him apart from the other scholarship winners. His background also makes him endearing in the way he appreciates the tech and adventure the Taj has, but also grateful to help his loved ones back on Earth. But our outcast is also a survivalist, which makes him a crucial hero in the end.
Hot Dog has all the sass and girl power for a YA female lead. She’s a girl gamer to the max and learned how to fly a Space Runner from simulations, landing her the best pilot on Earth and the Taj. It was refreshing to have a female lead that isn’t a love interest, and one that the men have to compete against.
Drue is the spoiled kid you hate to love, at first. He’s entitled and arrogant, but his charm keeps him on good terms with the crew. He takes Benny under his wing teaching him the ways of the Taj since he’s been there before, but he ends up taking a few lessons from Benny instead. His character is obnoxious and campy, and offers many humorous lines to the story; in the end, you love to love him.
The final main character is Jasmine, or Jazz, is another admirable female character for young readers. She’s a shy techy, yet her highly logical mind ends up bringing out the leader in her. Ramona is the final supporting character. She’s a computer hacker, with emphasis on the computer. She offers a needed comedic presence in the novel, and even lands a role in my favorite part in the novel.
Overall, it’s a great scifi read for young readers. It would be a great gift for a niece or nephew around 11 to 13 years old, or anyone who loves space. I’m looking forward to book two, which is expected to release in February.
Favorite line (or in this case part):
“Before Benny could say anything, the door to the meeting room slid open and Ramona walked in. She chugged the rest of a soda and tossed the can in a basket by the door.”
“Locked up, huh?” she asked, shaking her head. “No stealth. Terrible hackers.”
Yes, I know that isn’t an insightful quote or high action scene, but with what was happening in the novel, with Ramona’s entrance, it made me laugh out loud on a plane. The man across from me looked at me like I was insane.
Keep an eye on The Paper Tide in the next couple of weeks, we have an exciting giveaway coming your way!
-Go with the tide-
Questions for you:
-Do you read YA lit? If so, what series is your favorite?
-What technology do you hope to see available by the year 2085?