Tag Archives: Squeaky Award

Noah Zarc: Cataclysm (Noah Zarc, #2), by D. Robert Pease, Book Review

cataclysm

D. Robert Pease is two for two. His first MG novel, Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble, was given the very first Bookworm Blather Squeaky Award. His sequel, Cataclysm, will be receiving another. (Check out my review of Noah Zarc and my 5-Q interview with the author.)

In book one, Noah’s family had embarked on a scientific mission of repopulating the earth with animals. But Haon Craz had done his best to thwart their efforts. Now, we find out another side of this villain. A visit to Venus shows Noah the horrible squalor the Venetians live in. Haon, he learns, isn’t against the ARC project so much as he is for recolonizing the earth with people.  But the Poligarchy, in an effort to keep its rigid control over the solar system, won’t allow it. Yet we’re never quite sure if Haon is really a good guy. In fact, he seems downright suspect. Now Noah is having dreams that link him to Haon and cause him to seek the man out. Only that was Haon’s plan all along. Haon needs Noah to fly the ship back in time to implement his plan to prevent the cataclysm that destroyed earth in the first place. But is Haon really preventing it…or causing it?

This is another great mind-bender. The wild time jump details are fabulously thought out and cause some unexpected results. And we are introduced to some cool robot characters with personalities (personhoods, actually) of their own. Noah and James, one of the robots, share a special connection due to the neuro chip implanted in Noah’s brain. This gives them a direct mental link that comes in handy. They’re like brother, twins, two of the same person, almost. (“I felt like I was actually discovering who I was. And I realized I didn’t mind hanging out with me.”) Noah can even inhabit James, giving him a physical presence outside his own body and a chance to use his legs for the first time. Noah’s handicap gives readers a ready way to identify with him. We may not all be wheelchair- (okay, magchair-) bound, but don’t we all live with something we wish we could change? I know I do.

Squeaky AwardI have very little bad to say about this series. It can be a little difficult to follow at times, especially if I’m reading in the evening after a long day. You have to stay up on the details, and it moves fast. Also, there are a lot of unnecessary commas that slow the flow of the sentences.  But I can live with both of those. There’s so much good in the series: family, nobility, sacrifice, friendship, excitement, and imagination, not to mention a complete lack of offensive subjects and language. I also really appreciate the high value Mr. Pease gives to people. Cavemen are intelligent and enterprising, and the world was made for people. This implies intention and purpose, not chance and degradation. That is so refreshing to find.

In conclusion, this is a fun read with no caution flags. I highly recommend the series. Probably a 10+ independent reading level, but a great read aloud for those a few years younger.

They’re a steal on Kindle:

Mammoth Trouble 3.99
Cataclysm 3.99
Declaration 3.99

Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble, by D. Robert Pease, 2011, Book Review

One thousand plus years into the future of our solar system, Earth has been destroyed. People now live on Mars and Venus, fly around in the coolest space ships, and utilize amazing technology (like holopads, personal flying thermsuits, chef-bots that speak with French accents, and neuro implants). They’ve even perfected time travel. But, unfortunately, all animal life has been destroyed in the great Cataclysm.

Enter the Zarc family. Hannah and Noah Sr. are scientists in charge of a government sanctioned project to rescue extinct animal populations and resettle them on the slowly recovering Earth. They do this by traveling back in time, capturing a male and female of each species, and holding them within the Animal Rescue Cruiser (ARC) until their natural habitats can sustain them on Earth. Twelve-year-old Noah Zarc, a paraplegic and incredible space pilot, is a vital part of this family program. Not everyone, however, is excited about the repopulation efforts, and some will go to any lengths to stop it.

Futuristic sci-fi is not usually my first choice, but this spin on Noah’s ark looked so intriguing I had to download it. I’m glad I did. Not only is it one of the most original stories I’ve read recently, it’s well-written, entertaining, sometimes unpredictable, and just plain fun. It’s also squeaky clean, totally appropriate for middle-graders as young as eight, though I’d probably rate it at about a fifth grade reading level.

One thing that I really appreciated about this book was the worldview from which it was written. I expected the usual naturalistic approach. You know, one more repetition of the we-all-evolved, save-the-earth mantra of modern science. But this story was refreshingly open-minded. It did have one reference to people “evolving past” something, but it also spoke again and again of creation, and it gave cave people high intelligence. And my favorite, my absolute favorite statement it made was that the earth – this uniquely life-supporting planet – was MADE FOR PEOPLE. For you see, the Poligarchy (the solar system government), in an effort keep power, will not allow people to repopulate the earth, only animals. Not even when people are dying on Venus. This adds a unique element of sympathy for the antagonist. It also counters the real-life Green Movement that sometimes erroneously places greater importance on our planet rather than on the people for whom the earth was made.

Kudos on an excellent first novel, Mr. Pease!  It would be a worthwhile purchase even if it wasn’t only 3.99 on Amazon.  And in honor of a clean, kid-friendly read, I’m bestowing on Noah Zarc the first ever Bookworm Blather Squeaky Award!

Books two (Cataclysm) (my review) and three (Declaration) are also available. Jump onto his website for more information. He can also be found on Twitter, Facebook, and his blog.

Tomorrow: 5-Q Interview with Noah Zarc author, D. Robert Pease.

The All New Bookworm Blather Squeaky Award

For some time, I’ve wanted to design my own award to grant to books on my blog that I think are extra special. I’ve simply been too busy to generate the creativity. But over the past few weeks, I’ve put together the Bookworm Blather Squeaky Award. (Can you tell I’ve been having a lot of fun with my PaintNet program lately?)

To qualify for the Squeaky Award, a book needs to meet the following criteria:

1.  I have to really, really like the story, because, well, you know, this is my blog and my award.

2.  The book must be free of profanity.

3.  The book must be free of content inappropriate for its target audience. Any difficult subject matter must be handled in a kid-friendly way. This is purely my judgement call, because once again, this is my blog. You may design your own award.  :)

Pretty simple, huh? I just want to show my appreciation for especially good, clean kids’ books. And I’m just in time, because tomorrow I’m going to bestow my Squeaky Award on its very first recipient. Tune in…

(For a list of Squeaky Award winners, locate the category by that name.  I may back-award a few of my favorites on here as well as awarding future reads.)