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October 24, 2016
This first book in the Horizon multiplatform series, which incorporates a digital game for desktop and mobile devices, begins as an airplane carrying four members of a Brooklyn robotics teamâJavi, Molly, Anna, and Oliverâcrashes over the Arctic while en route to Japan. The students somehow survive, along with four other young passengers, but everyone else on the plane vanishes. Even stranger, they find themselves in a jungle, surrounded by unusual wildlife and vegetation. The third-person narration switches focus among Javi, Molly, Anna, and Yoshi, a Japanese-American boy also on the flight, as the eight kids try to make sense of (and survive) their environment, using their own scientific knowledge. In his first middle grade novel, Westerfeld (the Uglies series) creates a mysterious but believable new world, as well as a relatable and diverse cast of characters. The fast-paced action and mystery surrounding the plane crash, along with seeing how the characters react to the challenges that arise, should keep readers glued to this book and eager for the next one, due in fall 2017 from Jennifer A. Nielsen. Ages 9â12.
November 15, 2016
A mysterious plane crash lands a pack of kids in an impossible place in Scholastic's newest multiplatform series kickoff.Team Killbot is on its way to the Robot Soccer World Championship in Japan when the plane goes down. The New York-based robotics club is made up of leader Molly, who is African-American, Javi (short for Javier), who's a black Latino, Anna, who is hyper-rational but emotionally tone deaf and white, and Oliver, the youngest and also white. Post-crash, most passengers have vanished, with the exception of the robotics club, Japanese sisters Kira (rebellious) and Akiko (proper), an older white teen named Caleb, and half-Japanese, half-American manga fan Yoshi. Despite the plane's Arctic trajectory, they find themselves in a jungle. The flora and fauna are like nothing they've ever heard of (and are quite dangerous), but the real kicker is when they discover a device that can alter gravity. This is the first installment of a new multiauthor series to be tied in with an online game. As such, it focuses on introducing the characters and watching them explore their setting as they reason through different strategies, both for survival and to figure out where they even are. The setting is effectively developed, with a threat level that's high enough for effective suspense but not too gruesome, and the characters provide many points of entry for a broad spectrum of readers. A solid popcorn adventure. (Science fiction. 9-14)
COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
January 1, 2017
Gr 5-8-While traveling to an international engineering competition, four young teens find themselves stranded when their plane crashes in a menacing, inhospitable jungle. Along with four other teens, the eight are the only survivors. They should be in the Arctic but are in a tropical jungle instead. How is this possible? Where are they? How do they get home? Westerfeld creates a world with vicious predatory creatures, malfunctioning physical forces, and realistic characters. The teens must work together to survive. Many are scientifically minded and frequently use math and science to solve problems. As the first of a planned seven-book series, this installment does a great deal of introducing (characters, setting, conflicts, etc.). This does not, however, detract from the pacing or development of the narrative. With a tie-in online video game, this sci-fi title will have multiple platforms to keep readers' interest between volumes. VERDICT Buy where science fiction and survival stories are popular. Expect a hold list for this one.-Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI
Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
- snicker9 - Horizon is an adventure tale about 8 rag-tag kids who have little in common-except for the fact that they are all passengers on a plane headed for Japan. A plane, which half-way through the flight breaks down(literally) and crashes. The kids wake up to find themselves in a tropical jungle. Which shouldn't be possible, since they should have landed in the Artic. The kids have no idea where they are and no way to get home and things are getting worse by the hour. Of course there's the problem of limited food and water. But it doesn't stop there. In the jungle are shredder birds, poisonous berries, carnivorous vines and a very large mysterious creature heard groaning at night. Not to mention the fact that the kids found an amazing machine among the plane wreckage-a machine that can lesson or increase gravity and who knows what else. This machine could be key to their survival-or it could destroy them all. With their lives on the line, these kids have to learn to trust each and work together. One thing I liked about this book is that each chapter is told my a different viewpoint. Although some viewpoints are used more than others, and some not at all. From what I can tell, Molly and Yoshi are the two main characters. Besides that are Molly's science nerd teammates: Javi, Oliver, and Anna; the *slightly* older and temperamental Caleb; the rich young man with a sword-Yoshi, along with the twins Kira and Akiko(who don't speak English). I think that adventure and mystery fans will enjoy this book. I rate it 5 out of 5. ***Warning: It ends on a cliffhanger. This is the first book in a planned series of 7. Similar to the series "The 39 Clues" and "Spirit Animals" each book will be penned by a different author. The stakes are high!***
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