For most kids, a trip to space camp is a trip of a lifetime, for Aadi it was life altering. After receiving a camp immunization needed for travel to Mars, Aadi finds that the immunization is the catalyst of an insidious experiment. Lucky for him, he was engineered to survive, thrive, and dominate. Without realizing he is being trained to conquer worlds, and manipulated under the guise of a camp, he unfolds the plot too late for a change of fate. Aadi’s world is shaken upon the revelation that life before camp was not what it appeared. This solidifies his plan to save them all from the company that seeks to control him, only for his rescue to end abruptly due to a freak accident on a field trip to Mars. The full experiment is set in motion when he and his co-pilot, Eirena, crash in a distant galaxy called Shrenas, where they change and realize the full extent of their power. Holding onto his humanity, in the midst of turning into a god is Aadi's biggest battle yet. This turn of events causes him to put his childish thoughts away, forcing him to accept his change, and to decide to save a world, or to do what he was trained to do, dominate it. In the midst his struggles with his changes, his power is coveted by the warring leaders of Shrenas, and he is forced to choose sides to save a life, or to save himself. A decision that may prove just how much humanity he has left.
Explorer X - Alpha was my very first sci-fi book, and although it is a YA book, it was definitely
not a good book for me. I'm used to reading this genre, and when author LM Preston contacted me for a review, I said why not? I need to get out of my comfort zone from time to time.
This book's beginning was really slow for my taste, where I spent half of the book reading about Aadi and his friends at Space Camp, trying to find out more about why they were a part of an Experiment (called Experiment X). After the first 3/4 of the book, I did become attached to the characters, not wanting anything bad to happen to them. Let's not forget, this is the first in a trilogy, maybe that's why it was so slow to get into?
The writing was a little off for me, too. The character introduced themselves by saying: "Hello, my name is (Aadi)." After reading "Hi, my name is ..." ten times in a row, I started to get a little annoyed. It didn't sound like something a teen would say so often. I needed a "Hi, I'm ..." Sometimes less is more. Also, there were very few abreviations, which made the reading heavy. Sometimes, the kids sounded more like grown-ups than kids. I don't know if this type of writing is specific for the genre, but it was not my cup of tea.
Moving on to the story. We're immediately introduced to Aadi, our male protagonist, and join him in his entrance to Space Camp. Here he'll meet his new friends: Eirena, Raiko, Damien, Scott, Dakota and Tacitus. Aadi's relationship with Eirena begins as a competitive one, but it lets you know that they'll end up together in the end. Damien is your regular bad boy, very conceited. The rest of them were normal characters, with the exception of Tacitus, whom I'd like to find out more about. Overall, I thought the characters lacked depth. I would've liked to see more background to them.
In the last quarter of the book, the part I liked most, we finally see some action. Aadi and Eirena are thrown into an alien planet in the galaxy called Shrenas. Here they find allies... and enemies. They'll go through changes that'll turn them into something more than human and, while helping one of the races living in Shrenas win a centuries old war, they'll have to do everything in their power to find their way back home.
I confirm my previous suspicion: sci-fi is not a genre for me. I do like Star Wars, though.
But to those of you who do like this genre, I can tell you, you'd like this book.
About the Author: LM. Preston was born and raised in Washington, DC. An avid reader, she loved to create poetry and short-stories as a young girl. With a thirst for knowledge she attended college at Bowie State University, and worked in the IT field as a Techie and Educator for over sixteen years. She started writing science fiction under the encouragement of her husband who was a Sci-Fi buff and her four kids. Her first published novel, Explorer X - Alpha was the beginning of her obsessive desire to write and create stories of young people who overcome unbelievable odds. She loves to write while on the porch watching her kids play or when she is traveling, which is another passion that encouraged her writing.