Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill

51by-by62il_sx106_Lynn: Science fiction fans rejoice! You have a treat coming soon to a bookstore near you. Black Hole Sun (Harper/Greenwillow, Aug. 2010) is the sort of sf for teens that I’ve been begging for. Set on another planet (Mars) with an action-packed roller coaster plot, well-drawn characters, snappy dialog, nicely imagined future technology and outstanding world building. This is just the sort of science fiction that will delight existing fans and create new ones. Think early Heinlein with sophistication and even more attitude.

Durango is 8 1/2 years old in Mars years (17 Earth years) and the chief of a small band of mercenaries hired to protect a group of miners from a horde of cannibalistic Draeu who have been abducting their children. The Draeu and their Queen are demanding the surrender of a treasure but the miners insist they have no treasure. Durango suspects they are hiding something and he and his eccentric band of Regulators soon discover a world-changing secret and find themselves in a fight for their lives. The action starts on the very first page and roars on with plasma blaster shoot-outs, subterranean ambushes, sacrifice and double dealing making this highly entertaining book nearly impossible to put down.

Gill does an especially nice job with the world building, interweaving the background information without ever slowing the story. We gain a good sense of the setting, history, and politics and the world feels intriguing and authentic. I loved the quirky cast of characters and the snarky repartee that ricochets across the pages. Gill adds highly inventive slang that I discovered is addictive when I realized I had just said to one of our kittens, “Fitz, you carking dalit, get off the counter!”

Gill gives us a nicely resolved conclusion but leaves the door wide open for more adventures. Cindy, who is dealing with a sad time with a family member, loved this book too (see her starred review) and joins me in begging for more adventures with Durango, Vienne and Mimi. Please sir, we want some more!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

5 Comments on "Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill"

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  1. devafagan@gmail.com' Deva Fagan says:

    I was already very excited about this one, but having read your review I am definitely tempted to run out and buy this when it hits the shelf!

    I love that we are starting to see a bit more scifi coming out, especially space/alien scifi. It’s always struck me as odd that things like Avatar/Star Wars/Star Trek/BSG can be so popular and yet there aren’t many “big” scifi novels for younger readers.

    • I couldn’t agree more! Speculative sf is wide-open and it mystifies me that it is so under-explored for teens! Alien species and alien biospheres, colonization efforts, space travel, space opera, multispecies empires and/or wars…such an enticing area for authors for teens to play in! I’m very encouraged with some really good books this year that are something beside grim earth dystopias. – Lynn

  2. dibblyfresh1@gmail.com' Sadako says:

    Looks like a fun read, and I love that the title is a Soundgarden song as well! 🙂

  3. pwbalto@gmail.com' :paula says:

    We’ve been hearing for years that SF is the next big thing, that Harry Potter-style magic sets kids up for technological magic, and fantasy worlds are just a step removed from future worlds… but for years editors wouldn’t bite.

    So happy to see great, non-dystopic SF this year – like Dark Life, The Enemy… even Incarceron is set in the future. Can’t wait to grab this one!

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