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Digging in the Stars (Scent Hunters) Paperback – March 28, 2017
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About the Author
Katherine is an independent stop motion animator, filmmaker, and writer. She produces independent films in her animation studio in Scotland and has worked for many years as photographer, videographer, digital artist, and assistant director at an archaeological site in Luxor, Egypt. Katherine is currently working on a PhD in Film Studies at the University of Edinburgh, UK.
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Top Customer Reviews
After receiving a blank note and an old camera, Carter travels to the planet of Thror to solve the mystery surrounding her friend, Conrad's, sudden disappearance. She kidnaps her archaeology class--a group of interesting, very different girls and her professor--forcing them along for the ride. Digging in the Stars was very well-written and the characters were relateable and smart. I learned a lot about archaeology and what it entails. Katherine Blakeney sure knows her stuff! Carter's search for Conrad kept me guessing at every twist and turn. Was he really missing or was he like Margo in Papertowns by John Green--was he just playing her? The ending was satisfying but came way to soon! I can't wait to read more by Katherine Blakeney!
This story follows Carter and her archaeology group to a different planet for an apprenticeship program. That alone drew me in. Archaeology in space? YES PLEASE. Not only does that sound amazing, but it is refreshingly different from so many other YA novels. This book included family, friendship, sci-fi, and mystery all into one. The plot was seriously never lacking in action.
I really enjoyed the writing style of it. It included real historical facts about archaeology, and added in fictional discoveries that mirrored some that actually took place in the early 1900s, and I thought that was fantastic. Blakeney's writing made it so easy to just fly through this book. She had mysterious moments, then made them funny with side characters, then right back to fun science fiction. I loved that we got so many answers in the end, and a lot of it, I was not expecting at all.
I went in not knowing too much about the plot itself, and I really enjoyed that way. I HIGHLY recommend this book. It was so unique and fun, and really a great read. Please do yourself a favor and pick it up!
Here's a brief plot synopsis. Moody, damaged heartthrob Conrad heads to the planet Thror and disappears. He sends some clues about his fate to Carter. She books her archeology class field trip to Thror without telling her prof or the other students, and so they get on a spaceship to Magnus and find themselves actually transported to Thror. Really? Since they're all stuck there they all decide to try to find Conrad, because hey, why not. Thror was once home to an advanced, artistic and glamorously exotic civilization that was totally wiped out by massive, cataclysmic volcanic eruptions and earthquakes that basically Pompeiified the entire planet. Or did it? Is there cool hidden stuff out there? Are the few surviving Throrians hiding it? Did Conrad find it? Will we? The only way to find out is to hike out into the baking, ash covered, volcanic wasteland of Thror and have a bit of a look around.
This shouldn't work. Our crew is Carter, (a sometimes lion-hearted and sometimes timid heroine), Professor P, (alternately furious at everything and then calmly understanding), and a sarcastic famous girl, a homesick namby-pamby, an earth child nutty granola girl, and a phone dependent gum chewer. The local Throrians are seven-foot-tall furry gorilla/lizards who spend most of their time hitting on attractive Earth woman. (How would that work?) And Conrad is Lord Byron by way of Heathcliff. Stop it; you're killing me here.
I think the thing is that when the book gets cooking it's really very good. This book is set in the year 2222, and our Carter wants to be like the Howard Carter who found Tut's tomb in 1922. When she thinks about his discovery, and reads about the way Thror used to be, and imagines what there is that might be found in Thror now, well, the book just takes off. The writing is beautiful and evocative and romantic in a great adventure sort of way. That part is so good, and there's enough of it, that I was willing to skip over the bumpy parts, the stilted dialogue, and the crazy quilt plotting. (In all of that, by the way, the book is identical to "King Solomon's Mines", and that's a classic.)
So, for an older Middle Grade or younger YA reader with a taste for romantic high-energy alien world adventure and mystery quests, my bottom line is that this could be a very happy find.
(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)