From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up–In this high-energy dystopian novel set on Mars, 16-year-old Durango and his crew of Regulators have been hired to protect a group of miners and their children from the cannibalistic Draeu, who are led by an evil, enigmatic queen in search of the miners' reputed treasure. The Regulators are vastly outnumbered, and this might be their last mission unless quick-witted Durango and his feisty lieutenant, Vienne, can come up with a plan. The spirited, sarcastic dialogue between them masks their growing feelings for each other, though there's no time to explore romance with the high-octane action going on around them. The story is more violent than many YA science-fiction novels; there's scarcely a moment between flying shrapnel, explosions, and bloody fistfights. The occasional lack of exposition on the unfamiliar Martian technology may stump some readers, but that tiny flaw is easily overcome by the appealing characters, sharp dialogue, and action-packed plot. Durango's tendency toward acting first and thinking later is tempered by his former chief, Mimi, now a symbiotic nano-implant in Durango's brain, who offers equal parts hilarious sarcasm and logical advice sprinkled with quotes from classical poetry and 20th-century pop culture. Science-fiction fans will cheer Durango on in his exploits and enjoy the twists in the novel's satisfying conclusion. Those clamoring for more of Durango, Vienne, and Mimi will find their hopes for a sequel bolstered when the trio set off at the novel's end for a mysterious outpost that seems perfect for another adventure.–Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MDα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Durango is the 16-year-old chief of a team of mercenaries who eke out a living on Mars by earning meager commissions for their dangerous work. Their current job, and the main thrust of this high-energy, action-filled, science-fiction romp, is to protect South Pole miners from the Dræu, a cannibalistic group who are after the miners' treasure. Two feisty women help Durango lead. Second-in-command Vienne and Durango care more for each other than either wants to admit, although there is little time for romance amid all the flying bullets and detonating bombs. Mimi, the other central woman and Durango's former chief, is now implanted in his brain as an artificial intelligence. The repartee between Durango and Mimi is particularly brilliant, but throughout the novel, the dialogue crackles with expertly delivered sarcastic wit and venom. If intelligent sophomoric humor exists, Gill is the master at creating it. The intriguing dystopian setting is a Mars purposely polluted by immigrants from Earth. Readers will have a hard time turning the pages fast enough as the body count rises to the climactic, satisfying ending, which will leave new fans hopeful for more adventures. Grades 8-11. --Cindy Dobrez