- File Size: 6280 KB
- Print Length: 240 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 099747887X
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Synesthesia Books; 2 edition (October 23, 2015)
- Publication Date: October 23, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0173XHSC4
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,635,830 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Strange Lands: YA Otherworldly Fantasy Adventure (Heroes of Distant Planets Book 1) Kindle Edition
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"Surviving the Improbable Quest" is the first volume of the"Heroes of Distant Planets" series, which is certain to be enduringlypopular among science fiction fans. This deftly crafted story is written and illustrated by Anderson Atlas, who is an impressively gifted andoriginal novelist. "Surviving the Improbable Quest" is an excitingadventure, very highly recommended for school and community libraryScience Fiction collections.
Reviewed By Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Surviving the Improbable Quest: Heroes of Distant Planets, Book 1 is a young adult contemporary fantasy written by Anderson Atlas. When Allan qualified for the Nationals and broke his best freestyle record, he felt on top of the world -- that is, until he saw his mother's face. There was neither pride nor excitement in her expression, only a grim and angry glare accompanied by his latest report card bearing two F's. His parents were not in the least impressed by his talent for swimming or interest in adventuring; they were already focused upon his getting into an Ivy League college even though he was only 13. Allan's heart sank even further when he saw his father waiting outside the school in the car.They were both furious, and then the unthinkable happened. Their car was struck by another vehicle, and only Allan survived the impact, but he was left a paraplegic and unable to speak.
Anderson Atlas's young adult contemporary fantasy, Surviving the Improbable Quest: Heroes of Distant Planets, Book 1, starts off with a campfire scene some eight months after the accident. Allan and his uncle and guardian, Rubic, are on a fishing trip, and Rubic's just told a spooky story about a mythical monster called the Jibbawk that eats human flesh and leaves bleeding X's carved in trees. And if that doesn't whet your curiosity, keep on reading, because it just gets better. Atlas' young hero has a lot to cope with -- feelings of guilt over surviving the accident and despair over the loss of family, his dreams of athletic accomplishments and a future filled with adventure. Everything he's taken for granted, however, will change as a result of this camping trip and in ways he could never have imagined -- and it's fabulous following along with him. Allan and Rubic are marvelous characters, and Atlas' plot is well-crafted, original and imaginative. I'm looking forward to the next adventure. Surviving the Improbable Quest: Heroes of Distant Planets, Book 1 is highly recommended.
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The plot itself is pretty straightforward. Allan, a boy in 8th grade, was in a horrific car accident that not only paralyzed him but took the lives of his parents. What made the accident even more tragic, well at least to me, was that Allan had been disqualified from a swim meet, after winning it, because of failing a math test and his parents come to find out that he is missing work in other areas of school as well. So, when the crash occurred, his mother and father were lecturing him. I could see why he was rendered mute as well. Poor thing was living with the guilt that he caused the car accident.
I don’t know if I would class Allan as likable at first. He had a lot of issues due to the accident and was definitely taking it out on his uncle. I was glad when Rubic forced Allan to go on the fishing trip. It took Allan out of his comfort zone and got Allan somewhat out of his funk. Of course, something goes wrong and that is where the book took off.
Rubic and Allan were caught in a surprise flash flood when fishing in the creek. Rubic snatches Allan out of his wheelchair and runs for it and almost makes it. But a boulder knocks Rubic out and leaves Allan helpless in the mud beside him. After damming up the water, so Rubic doesn’t drown, Allan starts crawling to get help. Along the way, he crawls through a field of flowers and ends up somewhere else and that is the start of his adventure.
What I liked is that the author didn’t downplay Allan’s disability at all. Allan wasn’t miraculously cured of being paralyzed (but he did get mechanical legs to help him out with part of his quest). Allan learned to work with his disability when he was in Lan Darr. What I also liked is that his mental issues were addressed too. The speech given by Mizzi about the accident touched me and brought me to tears.
The storyline with Rubic was interesting too. I saw him grow, even in that day, from the uncle who was forced to take care of his nephew to a parent searching for his child. He was willing to do anything to get Allan back…even if that meant getting even more hurt.
I will say that both storylines were brought together beautifully. While Asantia’s identity was kept under wraps, it still surprised me about who her mother was. How it was revealed was a huge surprise too. While not a cliffhanger, the ending did leave it open for another book.
Allan only wants to swim and have adventures.
Suddenly the car is struck by another vehicle, and then another. When Allan wakes up in the hospital some time later, his parents are dead, and he can no longer walk. When he is ready to go home, it is his father’s brother, Rubic, who is there to take care of him.
Allan is a little resentful of Rubic, a little resentful of his whole situation. He either can’t or won’t talk. Finally, Rubic has the idea of taking him fishing in the mountains.
Allan is a little resentful of this too, but they go anyway. And while they are there, a flash flood comes up and washes them away. Allan’s wheelchair is washed away, and when they come to rest, Allan finds that Rubic has almost drowned. Allan tries to resuscitate Rubic, but has only limited success as he is pinned under a boulder. Allan knows he has to get help. He begins dragging himself back to their camp.
Something happens on the way, though. Allan begins seeing strange lizard people. Then a girl comes along who talks about selling him to the highest bidder. Eventually, Allan is rescued by a flock of flying balloon people who fly with him to another planet, where he actually does have some adventures – most of them dangerous. Most of the people there are hostile, but he manages to make a few friends.
Finally, Allan earns the right to come back to earth. Or perhaps the truth is that he never really went away after all. But in any case, he is talking again and has come to accept his situation. And he and Rubic are both safe (though it was a near thing for both of them) – at least for now.