Monday, July 5, 2010

Flight of the Outcast by Brad Strickland

Space Opera is one of my favorite sub-genres of science fiction. When kids ask me to suggest a good space opera, I usually think of Star Wars or Star Trek. Now I have a new recommendation - Flight of the Outcast by Brad Strickland.

This is a first story in a new series called The Academy and I can't wait for the next book! This series has everything that makes good space opera - lots of worlds and characters set far in the future, lots of exciting action involving spaceships and martial arts, cool technology, and a good story about good versus evil.

Thirteen-year-old Asteria Locke is an orphan. Her father was a veteran of the Royal Spacefleet and a hero, but after his injuries he was given a large farm on a remote world. After raiders attack their farm and kill her father she vows to become a Spacefleet pilot herself and protect others from the raiders. She travels alone to the Academy where she learns to fly and fight and even makes a few friends, especially a boy named Dai, but she also makes some enemies. She also discovers a serious threat to the Fleet and the citizens it protects - one that involves her, the cybots that serve humans and what really happened all those years ago when her father saved his ship when it was under attack from an alien threat. She also has a piece of alien technology that seems to be giving her super-human powers.

This is a fast exciting read that I couldn't put down. In many ways it reminded me of Harry Potter with its school setting and a bad guy as slimy as Draco. And boy, can Brad Strickland write and exciting flight scenes! I especially liked the times Asteria and Dai learned to fly their one-person fighters. Woo - hang on!