Scavenger 2: Chaos Zone by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
|Scavenger 2: Chaos Zone by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: By building on all the qualities of the first book in this series, this middle entry brings a new scenario to play, and creates a really worthwhile read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 272||Date: July 2015|
|Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books|
York is a lad on a mission. So would you be, if your space station habitation was constantly attacked by evolved, mutated and evil robots. Trying to get to the core of things – both the situation and the centre of the giant biosphere carrying the last humans to a future planet to reside on – he's just starting to enter the second level, alongside some surprising companions (surprising, that is, if you haven't read book one) and a lot of gung ho spirit. The next stage is a 'mid deck' level, where all of Earth's habitation zones have been recreated – but nothing, either animal or human, has stayed the same since the ship's launch…
With three main parts to the spaceship we have to assume this is the middle book of a trilogy, but there's nothing to worry about as regard this being a mere bridge piece. This is very much a continuation of what has gone before, and an entity with a character all of its own. And while that character has far too much of a Hunger Games/Scorch Trials spirit, the writing is fine, the drama of the highest quality, and the whole temper of the piece better suited to the pre-teen, making this a standout series.
It's science fantasy still, in that the animals have robot parts, or the robots assimilate biological design to change themselves into evil things, and the whole ship has a character which is much more living than constructed. You don't get a sense that the environment is artificial – meaning both the manmade spacecraft and the Stewart/Riddell collaboration's amalgamation of different climatic zones. Everything here is organic, from so many of the threats to the different ways the authors bring them to play.
The threats are conveyed really quite well indeed, whether it be by the writing – large, unjustified font making the pages hurtle by – or in the illustrations, which once again bring the environment and the unusual creature creations to life. There is pause for thought in amongst the dramatic chaos York faces, however, meaning this is definitely a book and not a video game plot written out longhand, as lesser creators would settle for. It's more or less self-contained too – it might actually be easier to begin here, remembering how jargon-heavy the start of the whole thing was. The important thing is, however, that while definitely belonging to a franchise, of whatever length, this certainly has an individual mindset, and everything that has gone before is only built on, to act as a unique setting in which to put a familiar, but gripping, story. Slap-wrists to the publishers for all the pointless white-on-black pages, but high-fives to the creators. And while the rating isn't quite five (I'd give this four stars if starting afresh here) it's up there with those books I'm recommending now.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Clash of the Rival Robots (Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates) by Gareth P Jones is part of a great series for the same audience, that would find it worthwhile starting over at the beginning.
You can read more book reviews or buy Scavenger 2: Chaos Zone by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Scavenger 2: Chaos Zone by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell at Amazon.com.
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