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Sunday, 29 November 2009

Review: Meteorite Strike by A.G. Taylor


Sarah and Robert are sure their number is up when their aeroplane crashes over the Australian desert. But this is no ordinary air disaster. A meteorite strike has impacted Earth, bringing with it a deadly alien disease. Thousands fall victim to the virus, falling into a deep coma. Luckily, Robert and Sarah appear to be unaffected - until they begin to exhibit some extraordinary psychic side-effects. This quickly makes them a target for HIDRA, a rogue international agency determined to experiment on them like lab rats in an attempt to control their superpowers. Before long, the children are captured in HIDRA's secret desert HQ, a prison for superhuman kids who can control fire, create storms and tear steel with their minds. This new generation of superheroes must join forces if they are to escape HIDRA. But what kind of world awaits them outside?

Watch out Walden, Craig and Muchamore.... there's a new kid on the block and he's good. Thanks to the generous folks at Usborne I managed to Twitter win/blag a copy of the first book in Mr Taylor's Superhumans series, and I enjoyed it immensely. Amazon.co.uk have it scheduled for a 29th January 2010 publication date so not too long to wait for this.

The premise is not eaxctly original - groups of young people developing superpowers and learning how to use them has been seen a lot in the last decade, with the X-Men movies and then the Heroes TV series. Joe Craig has covered some similar ground with his Jimmy Coates series, as has Sophie McKenzie with her Meduda Project. So, having seen it all before, what made this book so enjoyable? Firstly the pace - Mr Taylor really does deliver a white-knuckle ride full of tense action scenes. Without giving too much away, the climatic battle scene is a real page-turner; I was late picking my wife up from the station because I really wanted to see how things were brought to a conclusion for our heroes. Ooops!

His characters are also very believable and, for a debut novel, I was impressed with how quickly I became involved in their story. The relationship between brother and sister Sarah and Robert is well observed - their mother has recently died and long-absent father is suddenly on the scene to look after them, creating tension and confusion, with a healthy dose of mistrust on Sarah's part. Mr Taylor uses the events in the story well to help bring these characters together. I also liked the fact that unlike Sarah and Robert, the majority of people in the story have no immunity to this virus from outer space - an original concept that adds another element to the traditional kids with super powers premise.

The Bookseller has described Meteorite Strike as a "...heart-racing, breath-stopping thriller. There’s a cinematic quality to this adrenaline-fuelled adventure." and I can agree with this whole-heartedly. This is most definitely a book that will appeal to action-loving boys of all ages. It is also the first in a new series, with the second book, Alien Storm, scheduled for release later in 2010. 

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