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Waypoint Kangaroo: A Novel (The Kangaroo Series) Hardcover – June 21, 2016
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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"Full of intrigue, action, laugh-out-loud humor, and some truly awesome tech, Chen's debut is a ripping great read. I loved it and can't wait for more!" - Jason M. Hough, New York Times bestselling author of Zero World
"If you like your adventure lightning-paced and set in space, this is the book for you. Waypoint Kangaroo is a high tech thriller set on a passenger liner headed for Mars, featuring a wisecracking secret agent with a super power that will blow your mind. New writer Curtis Chen delivers non-stop action that twists and turns and finally hurtles to a harrowing climax. Prepare for old-fashioned sense of wonder updated with cutting edge hardware in this deft first novel." - James Patrick Kelly, winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards
"This Kangaroo could just be your new favorite wisecracking interplanetary adventurer."
- Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky
"The pace never flags in this high-stakes thriller, the plot never stops twisting and turning, and our hero never loses his sense of humor. Debut novelist Chen has created an engaging character and a rich, believable world. Sci-fi fans will love this fun, high-tech adventure." - Kirkus
""In this rollicking splice of mystery and high-tech SF...Chen’s debut keeps the plot twisting as the story builds to a powerful climax, leavening the suspense with Kangaroo’s droll quips. This book is an auspicious start for its author and his wisecracking series." - PW
"Kangaroo’s adventure is a great, fun read for anyone who loves a mystery or a spy story. The light narrative tone and funny side comments make the subject matter seem less serious, but the themes and comparisons to our current world are not lost on the reader." - Booklist
"Curtis C. Chen’s first novel, “Waypoint Kangaroo,” has a solid premise, a zippy plot, and some intriguing world-building. This is a promising debut. Chen writes with a breezy, cheeky style that reminds me of John Scalzi. Fans of Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” Universe novels should seek this one out. There’s lots of room in his Universe for more stories starring the Kangaroo." - The Missourian
About the Author
CURTIS C. CHEN graduated from Viable Paradise (instructors included NYT bestseller John Scalzi) and attended Clarion West (instructors included World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement winner John Crowley and Hugo/Nebula winner James Patrick Kelly). His short fiction has appeared in "Daily Science Fiction" and SNAFU and will be featured in Baen's MISSION: TOMORROW. On top of all that, he's a former software engineer and once built a cat feeding robot. He lives in Vancouver, Washington.
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But things don't stop happening.
This is a tongue in cheek James Bond in space, whose super-powered protagonist adds a touch of whimsy that makes the book feel almost like magical realism. The dialog and writing are charming, the story's engaging, and the stakes couldn't be higher.
Curtis's descriptions of the interplanetary cruise ship are believable and relatable if you've ever been on a cruise, but descriptive enough that you don't need to have the experience to grok it.
As far as the plot is concerned, it keeps driving the story forward, and takes unexpected but welcome turns every chapter. By the time the book was over, I was already hoping for a sequel!
Kangaroo is a spy... but he's not on a mission, he's on vacation, (Forced vacation, but still a vacation) and he has no idea what to do with his time. He's suspicious of everyone, and as it turns out, he has a right to be. He may be a top secret government spy, but this is not your typical spy book. Theres no target, no mission, he has no backup, no plan, no equipment... and he has no idea what he's doing. It's kind of a Mr. Magoo mystery/thriller, if Mr. Magoo were set in space and made really lame jokes that only he and the reader enjoyed.
Kangaroo isn't a complete, bumbling idiot, he (and his pocket) are very useful, but he can't help feeling like he's not good enough. In other words: Kangaroo is a normal freaking human being! A very relatable personality with worries and doubts and just trying to be the best he can be. And really that makes him (sorry Chen...) really freaking adorable.
He was just a kid when he signed up for all this! Orphaned, alone, always doing his best to not let the people who brought him in off the streets down. He doesn't know who he is without the agency and now, on his forced 'vacation', for the first time he'll have time to take a good look at himself and how important he truly is.
And did I mention he's adorable?
I absolutely hate romance in books... It's never realistic, or at least I sure haven't ever experienced the over the top romantic s*** dished out in novels and weirdly romantic entanglements shown on tv that take one short week to know that person is 'the one'.... Anyway... Yes, there's a bit of romance in Waypoint Kangaroo, but what makes me not hate this romantic encounter is that it's totally believable, and definitely more like my (currently nonexistent) love life.
I would totally fall for this guy and his lame jokes and nervous banter. (Again, sorry Chen!) It's adorable.
Toward the end I did feel the story moved a little too fast, not that there was too much action but that I would have liked to live in that world a bit longer, had a few more details and really liven up the second half with more of their situation and drawing me into the event. I really enjoyed this book, I had to re-read a couple pages at the end to really follow what was happening and I think it had to do with keeping the end plan a mystery until it the last possible second when it happened and suddenly he's doing something completely off the wall and I just didn't pay close enough attention (which happens a lot when a three year old is attacking you with dinosaurs while trying to read the grand finale!!!!)
But, I loved this book. I enjoyed every page and really, really hope there will be another Kangaroo story.
Characterization is done very well across the board, but Kangaroo himself is a "jump out of the pages, grab you by the collar, let's go grab a drink and I'll tell you some great stories" kind of creation. His quips and observations are hilarious, but alway stop short of venturing into the world of slapstick. The dialogue is spot-on as well.
Warning: This novel has more plot twists than an alpine rollercoaster. Just amazing to follow along. Right around Chapter Five, I stopped guessing at what would happen next and just enjoyed the ride.
From a purely narrative mechanics standpoint, the story is crafted extremely well. I've seen other novels, similar to it, spiral off into chaos and confusion - but Chen keeps a steady hand on the reins at all times, unbeknownst to the reader.
The primary plot arc is deeply satisfying but so are the multiple sub-plot elements.
All in all, I think "Waypoint Kangaroo" is the perfect beach / summer read for any fan of fast-paced, humorous speculative fiction who may be looking for something very different from anything you've read before.