Space, Where The Pirates Go To Play
My latest read was Spacejackers by Huw Powell.
Jake Cutler doesn't know his family, the nearest thing he has are the cyber-monks on Remota that he was left with as a child eleven years ago. But now there's trouble, the monastery has some unwelcome visitors dressed a space pirates, and they've come for Jake.
During his escape from the planet Jake finds himself thrown together with a fortune seeker, a healer, an adolescent alien and a band of space pirates captained by the formidable Granny Leatherhead. Can they find Jake's mythical home planet? More importantly, can they stay alive long enough to try?
This book definitely ticks all the boxes for a children's fiction title. Space adventure. Pirates (in space). Quirky characters... and did I mention pirates in space!? It would appeal to boys around the 9/10+ range and is a great science fiction adventure... or "space opera" as I saw on Goodreads.
I enjoyed the story immensely, a quest in essence where Jake has to find out who he is and where he's from. Jake is 13 in the book and as is traditional for all fictional heroes and heroines of that age he's super confident, has no teenage angst, and puberty will probably elude him throughout this trilogy. (I sound like I'm ranting about this book in particular for this, and I honestly don't mean it that way... I guess I've just grown cynical in my old age and can't believe this "miraculous teen" thing still works).
Being that it was already pegged as a trilogy when it came out I don't think you could want more out of this book. More story from the side characters would have been good, but you've got to assume some of that will happen in the next installments when they help them all find their way.
I just have one niggle about the book, and that's the ending, so I'll call spoiler now just in case...
You already know that if a series is announced they're more than likely going to follow the same path throughout the books. So that means he's going to be a space pirate in all the books. At the end of this one though he has found his destiny, overthrows a tyrannical leader and says he's going to change everything for the better... then at the last minute turns his back on the responsibility he's taken without saying anything to anyone to go and have another adventure.
As an ending it annoyed me. So for once a character isn't perfect, I should be happy that it went against that convention, but I can't help but think there were lots of other ways to end that book that didn't show a him shirking responsibility he took to go off and have some fun instead.