**WARNING — POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD — SPOILER ALERT **
It’s one hundred years in the future and a wealthy family owns a mine on the moon. The daughter of the family, Maria Medaris, is kidnapped by a group bent on destroying the Earth and taking over the moon. Maria is offered a high position within the terrorist group — an offer which may save her life and that of those she loves. Maria’s only hope from the outside is Crater Trueblood, a teen-age boy whom Maria rejected when he professed his affections for her. Will Crater come through? Will Maria survive? Will the Earth be destroyed?
Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company reads, on the one hand, like an old-fashioned space opera along the lines Mike Mars or Tom Corbett. It’s got all the appropriate, teenaged characters (and a female bioengineered warrior) and cool gadgets and cooler creatures (such as the gillie). And it’s got danger at just about the highest level … the threat of the destruction of the entire planet Earth.
On the other hand, it’s a rather slow-moving story with characters that aren’t very impressive. Crater Trueblood is our hero, and while he’s steadfast and true, we don’t get the impression that he’s going to rush right in to the thick of things to save the day. His ride to save Maria, which she anticipated upon her capture, took three or four times longer than I expected. With each passing chapter I thought to myself “well now he’s going to get there and save her” but I kept being wrong. In this he was very much the opposite of Mike Mars or Tom Corbett … classic books in which the heroes jump from one life-threatening situation to another in pursuit of their goals. Here there is only one and it takes a long time to get there.
Crater Trueblood, being the named hero in the title, would seem to appeal to the teenage boy readers, but it is Maria Medaris who is the fascinating character here. She is captured for a particular reason (which in itself is worthy of a story plot) and forced to make some tough decisions which keep the reader on edge. Crater, on the other hand, just moves slowly and steadily forward; dull but determined.
There is a great deal of ‘honesty’ to these characters, which is refreshing, but instilling some excitement in them would be welcomed.
Looking for a good book? Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Team has great potential to be a YA sci-fi thriller, but gets a bit bogged down in its own story.
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Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company
author: Homer Hickam
series: Helium-3 #3
publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
paperback, 336 pages