Monday, June 14, 2010

The Pack by L.M. Preston

NOTE: The Pack was a free review copy provided to Luke Reviews by Phenomenal One Press.

After the surprise success of Explorer X – Alpha by L.M. Preston, I was looking forward to more of her work. Those of you who read the interview I did with her know that Preston has a number of books on the horizon, the next out being The Pack the first of a new duology out from Phenomenal One Press.

On the Mars of the future, a crime spree resulting in the kidnappings of a number of children have rocked the Martian police force, as they seem to be the targets of the attacks. Shamira, daughter of two members of that group, uses her training and the enhanced senses she has grown into after losing her eyesight to try and track down these kidnappers. However, after an emergency trip to Earth results in the return of her eyesight, her repeated run-ins with Valens, another young adult looking for the answer to the riddle of the missing children, and the kidnapping of her own brother, Shamira has to go past the point of no return if she is to save her brother and the other children of Mars.

The Pack, aimed at an older age group than Preston’s Explorer X series, definitely has a more mature feel to it. The setting and mood are much darker, as Shamira runs through the shady side of Mars to solve her brother’s kidnapping. However, Preston shows herself to be versatile enough to handle this drastic shift in the feel of her first two books, succeeding in making the dark environment feel natural. Shamira is certainly a well-developed character

I felt, however, that The Pack suffered from some things that didn’t hold up quite as well as in Explorer X – Alpha. Shamira, while she may be well-developed, I found at times to be frustrating as a character. That may have been part of the point, but her abrupt shifts in mood, and her need to be angry at everyone and everything but her brother, made her a bit grating at times. I didn’t feel like this one drew me in quite like Aadi and his friends did Explorer X – Alpha, and that it made this one a little less engaging.

The Pack fills a void in young adult literature, reaching out to the young adults right on the edge of that genre, and adulthood itself, and will be well-received by those readers. However, to see all that Preston’s capable authorship can do, I would point back to Explorer X – Alpha. That said, I still am excited about Preston’s next release, out in Spring 2011, Bandits.

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