Author: Hilari Bell
e-book, ARC, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
(was published January 2011)
In the year 2098 America isn't so different from the USA of today. But, in a post-9/11 security-obssessed world, "secured" doesn't just refer to borders between countries, it also refer to borders between states. Teenagers still think they know everything, but there is no cure for cancer, as Kelsa knows first-hand from watching her father die.
The night Kelsa buries her father, a boy appears. He claims magic is responsible for the health of Earth, but human damage disrupts its flow. The planet is dying.
Kelsa has the power to reverse the damage, but first she must accept that magic exists and see beyond her own pain in order to heal the planet.
Sadly, this book did not live up to the expectations I had for it.
It's actually a bit of a contradiction. Labeled as a science-fiction book but it has magical elements to it.
Kelsa, story protagonist, is a fifteen year old girl whose dad has just died of cancer. Her mother is in morning, her little brother Joby seems oblivious to everything and the tension between the two is impermeable. There seems to be this unexplainable anger between the two. Well, actually it is explainable, but there is no reason why there had to be so many pages on how Kelsa was ignoring her mother, how upset she was at her, how she would never forgive her. I do not actually believe their relationship played a big part in this book.
Then you meet the mysterious boy who just showed up, claiming magic is going to help heal the dying earth. This intrigues the reader, but there's nothing much to be intrigued about. He's not actually human. I actually commend Hilari Bell on her ability to make Raven seem oblivious to human nature, showing how in-human he is. By the end of the book, I was about as un-affectionate for him as he was for humans.
This book is supposed to take place in the future, 2098 to be exact. But I never actually felt that there was anything futuristic about it. It's exactly as the summary says, there is nothing diffrent about the United States then as it is now. I never go the feeling that the tough security was because of the 9/11 incident. Only when Kelsa was going on about how her therma-suite wasn't working, or that slight mention on how cars hovered did I remember this took place in the future. The pod-coms seem to be round iPhones, and the PIDs remind me of the French S.S. Vitale cards (both care around your personal information, like a credit card, with your picture.)
I do like how the book had mentions about Native American legends though. I wish it was something that Ms. Bell would have gotten more into, instead of how Raven said tarnation. There was one mention on how the Trickster part of the title played in. It got about half a page, and then it wasn't really brought up again.
Which brings me to another peeve. Instead of actually swearing, therefore making this book readable to younger children, the author just changed the vowles of those words and made them swear words, some invention made in the future. Example would be how we do it with ship and frick. (Actually, that's how we do it here in this small mid-western town. I can't speak for the rest of the dirty mouthed people :D )
I liked the idea of the story though. It's something I haven't read yet, so I was intrugied by how magic was going to save the trees. The idea that there are certain healing spots is just something I've never read about, so cuddos for the orginality. I could see the take-care-of-the-Earth message, which usually makes them pretty bad. Not this one, though. Earth-Saving was not the reason I did not like this book.
Also, this is a more biased comment, but there was no real relationship between Raven and Kelsa! It's over two hundred pages of a boy and a girl out on an adventure, alone and well seeing as it's marketed along books ceratin books makes me think there's going to be some sort of a relationship. Alas, there was nothing more than a semi-friendship and a lot of tolerance.
Yet, I'm sure this book is going to do well. With its descprition of Raven being this totally hot guy and Kelsa being an innocent young girl who manages to move on from her father's death by saving the world, there will be many readers who will fawn over Hilari Bell's newest book, Trickster's Girl.
Rating: 2 1/2-3 stars