Aoléon and Gilbert receive a special mission from PAX, a wanted criminal and leader of the Martian resistance movement to investigate the Luminon of Mars, who he suspects is planning an invasion of Earth to steal its milk cows. Gilbert has an encounter with the Luminess (the mate of the Luminon) and discovers something strange about her during a procession, and the duo are chased by the Royal Paladin Guard.
At Aoléon’s home, Gilbert meets Aoléon’s family, her sister Una, mother Phobos and father Deimos as well as her overzealous pet Zoot. He is also introduced to Bizwat, a covert operator and Procyon Commando, who uses his Saturn Pizza delivery job as a cover.
Gilbert then gets to visit the Martian Space Academy (Aoléon’s school) where he encounters Aoléon’s nemesis, Charm Lepton and her friend Quarkina, as well as receiving a history lesson on the Martian people by Plutarch Xenocrates. After class, Gilbert and Aoléon get to train in zero-G and Gilbert is treated to a Psi-ball match between Martian Space Academy and Martian Science Academy.
I enjoyed reading part two of the Aoléon series and imagine young readers would love learning about Aoléon’s home world and the people she interacts with on a day-to-day basis. Despite living on a distant planet the relationship between Gilbert and Aoléon form as though she were a new neighbor who moved in next door. Their interactions, like eating pizza with the rest of her family feel natural and close to home. The author made this alien home world feel quite approachable. Although he adds a sci-fi feeling to the characters and activities their world doesn’t seem so much different than our own.
The people’s emotions and flaws feel particularly human. I love that Gilbert can read the alien’s minds. For example, he can see that the young girls who taunt Aoléon are struggling with family problems of their own. I like the humanity with which the author describes these brief glimpses into their thoughts. As adults we know that an individual’s actions are often deeper than what meets the eye. As children though we don’t always understand that actions are motivated by unseen factors like sadness or problems at home. This book highlights the underlying feelings that can impact behavior; a lesson that children are never to young to learn.
The vivid graphics and colorful illustrations help you envision the world the author wishes to portray. The comic book like feeling continues throughout chapter two but the intensity of images greatens. You can really envision the spaces where these aliens live. Everything from the chairs at the dining table to the meeting spaces and open air squares of the city.
I think this book would certainly capture the interest of any young reader who wants to explore far off places and distant lands.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.