Space Pirates: Stowaway by Jim Ladd

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Space Pirates: Stowaway by Jim Ladd

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A reasonable my-first-sci-fi-adventure book, let down by not really getting anywhere.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 128 Date: July 2013
Publisher: Nosy Crow
ISBN: 9780857631541

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It's a weird place where Sam lives. The planet P-Sezov 8 is just a nothingness in the middle of nowhere, and is home only to his scientist parents and a whole spaceport full of bickering, nasty pirates. Both groups only use the place as a departure point for more interesting things elsewhere, his exploring parents leaving Sam with his computerised tutor. But when he gets word they are stranded on a fully gold world the pirates would be interested in, Sam must muscle in with the worst of them and try and help.

To begin with, then, the ending. There is none. This is merely the appetiser, the opening one of at least four books where we see Sam hook up with a naff pirate crew because the really good pirate crew is too scary, and because – well, because the whole thing is full of lapses in logic, telescopes being used in daytime and so on. So caveat emptor and all that – if your under-nine enjoys this be prepared to order at least three more.

But will they? Well, the fun to be had is in some small amusement from the pirate stereotypes being turned on their head – laser cannon and swords being used instead of the old, a multi-tentacled ship's cook with several peg-tentacles, and so on. There is also a fluid, bold polish to the drama that helps disguise the thinning number of pages remaining until you realise there just won't be a proper conclusion.

So perhaps I'm being a little churlish and tight – the exposition of the two crews and their bickering, and the stowing-away of Sam, were OK while I read them, it's just that by the end, when there's been little real drama beyond an encounter or two with baddies, I really did feel the lack of anything special or particularly novel or engaging. I'm not saying I've got a problem with books like this – large print, many decent illustrations and a style just right for a young reader dipping their toes in space adventure – but I do have a problem with them being fobbed off with a non-ending when they could and should have had so much more.

I must still thank the publishers for my review copy.

For more piratical goings-on, we recommend Pirates 'n' Pistols by Chris Mould - or even The Captain Jack Sparrow Handbook: A Guide to Swashbuckling with the Pirates of the Caribbean by Jason Heller for background. My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish 2: The Sea-quel by Mo O'Hara and Marek Jagucki shows how inventive books for this age bracket can be.

Buy Space Pirates: Stowaway by Jim Ladd at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Space Pirates: Stowaway by Jim Ladd at

Buy Space Pirates: Stowaway by Jim Ladd at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Space Pirates: Stowaway by Jim Ladd at


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