A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a futuristic fantasy novel, but there is some gritty violence here (the teen main character is held down to have his pinky finger cut off with a knife for example, and there's lots of fighting, both with and without weapons, and injuries and deaths). Also expect some sexual references, though nothing explicit beyond kissing. Some teens may also be disturbed by the graphic description of deep water reef trawling. But even reluctant teen readers will be quickly sucked in to all the action here -- and this book could be used to talk about a wide range of topics, including dystopian novels, fantasy violence, ecological issues, etc.
What's the story?
Jack's life comes crashing down after he wins his high school football game and is featured on the local news. Suddenly he is being hunted by strange creatures, who kill his parents just after he finds out they aren't really his parents, for reasons he doesn't understand. After nearly being killed again in New York, he takes up with a large, telepathic dog and flees down the Eastern Seaboard, pursued all the way and never knowing whom to trust. Gradually he discovers that he is from 1000 years in the future, when the earth is an ecological wasteland; that the Turning Point, beyond which the disaster can't be stopped, is coming up; and that he has been sent back according to a prophecy to find something called Firestorm, which can stop the coming catastrophe. If only he knew what it was, or where.
Is it any good?
The story rockets along with pulse-pounding action and gritty violence, and even reluctant teen readers will be quickly sucked in. And then in the second half, after they can't possibly put the book down, they get a good-sized dose of ecological information and messages. Jack is a likable enough protagonist, and his gradually emerging abilities are satisfying, and the story features time travel (a sort of Terminator for the teen set), a ninja babe who teaches Jack to fight (after beating him up repeatedly), paranormal abilities, and a climax worthy of a Bond movie. What's not to like? Well, there is internal inconsistency, and some might be bothered by Klass's irritating writing style. Mostly though, readers will be clamoring to find out what happens next.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about books set in the future. How does this one compare to other future fantasy stories you've read or watched? Can these kinds of stories impact how we live today?
There is a lot of violence here, but it takes place in a sci-fi fantasy. Does that make it different than reading about it in a realistic context?
For kids who love science fiction
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.