Thursday, July 30, 2015

Children's Review: The Galaxy Pirates: Hunt for the Pyxis

{on Goodreads}
Emma Garton's days have always been dependable: a mom that never does anything unexpected or exciting, a best friend with an overactive imagination, and weekends out on the pacific ocean learning to sail from her dad. All of that changes on the day that her parents are kidnapped by strange men  demanding a mysterious object called a Pyxis. Emma and her friend Herbie are there to witness the unbelievable scene but manage to hide from the kidnappers. Afterwards, they follow the kidnappers' trail down to the water, where they commandeer Emma's family yacht and begin a chase that will lead them to places they could never have imagined existed. There's something Emma's parents have been keeping from her, and it might just be the biggest secret of all time. It turns out that there exists an entire galaxy of creatures and people separate from Earth, and that they're all looking for a princess-turned-pirate named Halifax Brightstroke, a woman who escaped death and defied her queen. If that isn't enough to take in...this woman is Emma's mom, and now everyone is after Emma too. This is where the book first hooked me: the world building in the story is incredible and full of imagination. It reminded me a bit of Treasure Planet in that it places the adventurous character-types (pirates, evil queens, etc.) that we're familiar with in completely unfamiliar territory. This adventure is fast-paced and wildly inventive and definitely one that I'll recommend to future students. There are two things that I wished for when reading the story: first, that it was illustrated. I cannot say enough good things about Ferraris's ability to world build and I think that illustrations would have really complemented that ability throughout the story. Second, there was very little character development outside of Emma and her parents. Now, there was a whole lot of information to convey to the reader in order to introduce them to this new galaxy, and Ferraris managed to do so without making it feel like an info dump, but I feel like all of that effort was spent on the setting and, as a result, the character's backgrounds were set aside. There were certain characters that I was desperate to know more about: the queen, Captain Lovesey of the Argh, and Emma's new friend Santher. I felt a bit detached from the characters while reading because I knew nothing about them, so I'm hoping that's something that will be improved upon in the next installment. And speaking of next installments, I actually yelled "Nooo!" after reading the last sentence, because holy cliffhanger! I cannot wait to see what happens next. There are so many threads left to be tied from the ending of this first book and I am eager to not only find some resolution from the climatic action at the end, but also to read more, because it's clear that Emma's adventures have just begun. This is one trilogy that I would love to see as a bookclub pick for middle-grade readers, and one that I'll be looking to buy for my classroom library. I'd recommend for any and all fans of the fantasy genre.

This book will be released on August 4, 2015.

Bottom Line Rating: 4/5
Recommended for 8-12 (Grades 3-7)

Title: The Galaxy Pirates: Hunt for the Pyxis
Author: Zoe Ferraris
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Price: Pre-order the hardcover for only $12.74 on Amazon!
ISBN: 0385392168
Format: E-book
Source: Advanced Reader Copy provided by Net Galley

Top Shelf Text was provided with advanced reader copies of these texts for review from the publisher.
All opinions are my own.

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