Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
Black Hole Sun - David Macinnis Gill I had high hopes for David Macinnis Gill's Black Hole Sun. It was a combination dystopian/sci-fi; it was young-adult; and it came highly recommended with a five-star rating by a friend whose opinion I trust. Unfortunately, it fell far short of the mark.The premise of the book starts off fairly well: mercenary Durango and his team of rag-tag misfits accept a mission for far below their usual pay to defend a mining outpost on Mars from a band of cannibals who demand children of the miners. Of course, it takes several chapters to get to this point, because we have to meet Durango during his previous mission, where he rescues a moneyed girl and her brother in a convoluted side plot that come up in the book's climax.Another reviewer on Goodreads suggested that the plot (and the main character, and the Chinese and Japanese epithets) were borrowed heavily from Joss Whedon's Firefly series, and I'd agree. With another helping of child soldiers trained in battle academy from Ender's Game, an artificial intelligence aiding and abetting the main character from William Gibson's Count Zero, and the oddly-painted artistocracy a cross between Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Capitol and Gibson's Idoru. I'm willing to bet there are others I've missed.In other words, you'll feel a lot like you've read this one before.While there are moments when the story shines, so much of it feels derivative of other, better-known sci-fi novels, and the teens in the book feel so much older than their alleged 17 years, that it ultimately fails as both a young adult novel as well as a sci-fi novel. Most sci-fi fans will have read the books (and seen the series), and I'm not sure younger readers will connect with these preternaturally aged characters. Even Ender was, at heart, at child. Durango is a middle-aged man before his time.

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