- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Series: Omega City (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Balzer + Bray (April 28, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062310852
- ISBN-13: 978-0062310859
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,448,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Omega City Hardcover – April 28, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Omega City narrowly avoids being a cliché among adventure books for the preteen set. It has a clueless professor dad, a villain so obvious that kids will spot her the moment her four-inch heels click onto the scene, preternaturally intelligent kids, and a secret that could save civilization—if the heroes can get to it first. But Peterfreund packs the novel with so much suspense, history, and science, readers can't help but overlook the traps of the genre and get enthralled in the story. A group of kids—Gillian; her younger brother (by 11 months) Eric; their friend Savannah; space savant Howard; and Howard's older brother Nate—find themselves in a race to discover an invention that could change the world. Their search leads them to an underground city built during the height of the Cold War. There the young heroes are chased and put into life-threatening situations by the villain and her henchmen. The plotting is fast paced and exciting. Readers—like Gillian and her friends—will hardly have time to catch their breath before each new twist and turn. VERDICT Peterfreund mixes science and history in a way that may appeal to nonfiction readers as well as to action fans.—Marie Drucker, Malverne Public Library, NY
“Young readers looking for a page-turning quest should get into this planned series on the ground floor.” (Booklist (starred review))
“[A] fast-paced series opener” (Publishers Weekly)
“Omega city is a treat…an exciting read, hard to put down, and just plain fun.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
“A crowd-pleaser in the spirit of The Goonies” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
Praise for ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA: “[A] mysterious spy adventure in a lush and terrifying futuristic world” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (starred review))
Praise for ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA: “A charming bit of light adventure” (Publishers Weekly)
Praise for ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA: “A good bet for readers looking for strong female protagonists, characters of color or just an enjoyable romantic adventure with a science-fiction spin.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Praise for ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA: “Peterfreund’s novel is riveting and intense...Readers will love this page-turning story and its dramatic climax.” (Romantic Times)
Praise for ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA: “Engrossing and fastpaced.” (Booklist)
Praise for ACROSS A STAR-SWEPT SEA: “Complex in both plotting and themes, this science fiction revision of The Scarlet Pimpernel offers political intrigue, narrow escapes, and forbidden romance” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
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If you want some sense of what this book is about and what it is like I'm afraid that plot summaries aren't going to help you very much. As I think about the plot, the book starts as a mild teen domestic drama coupled with a "crackpot conspiracy theory Dad" theme. It switches into a puzzle/treasure hunt book, with a government conspiracy flavor. Then we get some "Journey to the Center of the Earth" with a little Indiana Jones and a cross between Arthur C. Clarke's "Rendezvous With Rama" and Willy Wonka, (both "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory" and "Charlie and the Great Glass Escalator").
As you can see, plot summary just isn't very helpful.
So, consider this. We have a brother, Eric, and sister, Gillian, who trust in their disgraced scholar father. Dad believes in a vanished genius scientist, Aloysius Underberg. In order to save Dad's reputation, and possibly his sanity, the brother and sister are trying to confirm the existence and fate of Underberg. Earnest Gillian's pal Samantha is a smart/dumb blond who is a classic pretend airhead/actual smart cookie. Along the way they pick up social misfit science geek Howard and then his older-than-they-are bro Nate who has a car and who tries to keep an eye on this crowd. This assortment then goes on to have sci-fi/adventures.
Most of the fun turns on the give-and-take among the characters, the odder parts of the situations the characters find themselves in, and the manic implausibility but convincing description of so many of the plot points. The book starts a bit slowly because we have to establish Gills and Eric and Dad and sketch in the nature of his disgrace and his current obsessions. There is a bit more dithering and hand-wringing than is strictly necessary, but that lightens up when Sam appears and it disappears entirely once Howard and brother Nate appear. From that point on, (at about 1/4 of the book), we take off on an increasing clever and ripping yarn, right up to the breathless finish.
So, this is a fun and entertaining book. The quality of the writing, (vocabulary, grammar, and so on), is perfectly fine. There are a few bumpy bits here and there, but dialogue is strong, there are some funny bits that are well timed, and the pacing is such that you are just zipped along too quickly to notice any weak points. The science angle is a nice change from magic and it's good to have teen heroes without a lot of angst. Sam's a little boy crazy, but this is not a hot-guy teen romance.
I liked it and appreciated its entertainment value and the author's willingness to go somewhere new in terms of plot.
(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)