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- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Three volumes of the Noah Zarc series with illustrations that are only available in the omnibus edition: here is a book that will encourage the reader in your middle-grade student. Noah Zarc is a science-fiction adventure story, which starts with a 12 year old protagonist and his family as they travel space and time collecting animal pairs much like Noah of the Bible.
But this Noah is no older man with a fully functional body: this Noah is a paraplegic who occasionally rails against the confines of his limitations. His family isn’t into coddling him either: there isn’t a great divide in punishment, interaction or expectations for any of the children: expectations are set and most often met if not exceeded. Another bonus to a story that uses such clever techniques to teach and model: we learn as much from our interactions with fictional characters as we do from those who are standing in front of us, and there are several options for learning.
Starting with Mammoth Trouble, Noah is just 12, and the family is starting their adventure with their ARC (Animal Rescue Cruiser). This is a post-apocalyptic world, where humans are relegated to living on colonized Mars and Venus. Noah and his family are seeking to grab pairs of animals to repopulate the earth. Interesting social and moral issues arise with this: should you be expending this time and energy to stop the extinction of the animal kingdom when humans are in need? What about the whole “changing” the path of a destiny? Any fans of time travel will instantly see the gentle seeding of the argument for young readers to develop their own views.
Full of concepts and ideas, action-packed and several wonderful interactions between the characters that includes bickering, punishment and Noah’s struggle to save his father from the anti-animal faction had me whipping through the pages. Illustrations and new technology along with the dedication the family has to saving the animals was just a fabulously transporting read, and made me wish I had a younger reader at home!
Next up is Cataclysm and Noah is a year older and wiser, with all of the experience gained from his family’s first year on the ARC, integrating a new member into the family, and the kids have been sent to live with their Grandfather to ‘experience a more normal life’. But ‘normal’ isn’t all that one might expect, Noah is finding some odd connection with the villain Haon, and is beginning to wonder if perhaps there is more to the conflict and backstory than he knew.
Another thoughtful installment that added, to my delight, robots with personalities and identities, that don’t try too hard and come off as overwrought, but are just right! More action-filled than the first, there are wild time-jumps, authorized and not, that serve to keep the story moving forward. Fast paced and full of detail this story is one that keeps rushing by, even as you want to stop and savor. Additionally, as in the first book, Noah’s disability is not ignored, but worked with and around: he’s managed to adapt his approach to accomplish what he wants, even as he does have those moments where his disability is fully in the front of his mind.
Lastly and the newest installment to the series is Declaration and we join Noah in the midst of a firefight helping the rebels stand strong against the Poligarchy’s army that is bent on ruling the galaxy. What we are learning throughout the story is that Noah and his family, with their time travel skills can go back and alter the past, and perhaps prevent the mess that is the world they know now.
Noah is now 14, and his perspective and voicing have aged with him: confidence from past encounters and his confidence in both his ‘team’ and his own abilities have contributed to this noticeable maturing of the character. Yes, he is still young, but the core traits of his personality that were so endearing in the earlier volumes are still prevalent, with the solid family/tea relationships that are a mainstay of the story. We are in boy-heaven in this story: action, gadgets, a clear enemy and a clear goal and hero to cheer for. Continuing to confront head-on several social issues, and questions of what is really in the best interests of everyone, the story manages to work on several levels, keeping readers engaged throughout.
I’m not the target audience for this book, but I was completely captured by the characters, the action and the issues and questions: set in fantasy but integrating concepts and engaging readers with a fun tale that teaches as it entertains.
This was a lovely addition to the series: highlighted with illustrations found only in the omnibus edition that add a bit of whimsy to the page.
I received an eArc copy of the book for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.