On the surface, this trilogy opener is a fairly standard opposites-attract romantic adventure, when a spoiled socialite and a seasoned soldier are stranded on a mysterious planet after their luxury spaceliner malfunctions and crashes. Major Tarver Merendsen tries to protect Lilac LaRoux, "the richest girl in the galaxy," as they journey across an inhospitable wilderness in search of rescue. Though their personalities clash and their social status separates them, they develop feelings for one another. But the further they travel, the more questions they find regarding their new home. Strange visions and apparitions give the story a chilling edge, and a late revelation elevates these developments into entirely new territory. In a collaboration that, at times, evokes Lost, Titanic, and Romancing the Stone, Spooner (Skylark) and newcomer Kaufman do an excellent job of keeping their story from falling into clichéd romantic territory. Although the constant arguing between Tarver and Lilac and their internal angst can be tiring, the external conflicts and underlying mysteries will keep readers guessing (and turning the pages). Ages 12–up. Agent: Adams Literary. (Dec)
Reviewed on: 12/02/2013 Release date: 12/10/2013 Genre: Children's
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