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One Trick Pony Hardcover – March 14, 2017
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1. Kleidi, the robot pony. She is gorgeously golden and pops out in Nathan Hale’s distinctive two tone yellow/gray coloring for this novel. She adds comic relief when she only listens to Strata and no one else. And plays a surprising role at the end of the book. I gotta say, the ending shocked me - in a good way. It took a twist I was not expecting at all.
2. The aliens. These are seriously scary multi-limbed, disjointed, frightening giant blobbing aliens called Pipers that release bubbles to capture electronics they scavenge from the earth. And if you’re holding to that technology - you could lose your limb. They are like a cross between the creature from the Alien movie and an Hieronymous Bosch painting. It’s creepy good!
3. The concept of the caravan. The main character, Strata, lives with this traveling band of “digital rescuers” who save data and technological devices before the aliens can get to it in the hopes that one day civilization can be rekindled. That idea is so, so powerful and timely when you think of efforts to suppress scientific data now. Our own digital rescuers are heroes. I know all you teachers and librarians and book lovers listening can relate when I say that the burning of the library at Alexandria stills shatters a part of my soul to think of all that knowledge lost. And I love how Nathan Hale captured that concept in this graphic novel.
In One Trick Pony, Nathan Hale has masterfully combined two seemingly disparate elements - a girl and her pony story and a fierce science fiction battle book. And it is wonderful!"
- This review is an excerpt from Books Between Podcast, Episode 19
Yet, it is very well done. The story is well drawn and plotted. It is hard to write a good all ages story that is both interesting, has good action and yet, not be too graphic. There is one very intense moment at the end (spoiler *** the pony dies to save the girl and all of humanity ***). It is written well so that we as an adult can understand the deeper meaning and point of what the characters are saying without making it hard for younger children from following along.
The design of the aliens and their fundamental motive is also well executed. This is a bit of a change for Mr. Hale who had previously done historic fact based graphic novels. It is well done and perhaps we might see further adventures of this girl and her family as they rebuild human civilization.
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Spoiler alert -
The pony dies a horrific death in the end by being sliced into thirds and...Read more