Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Author: G.R. Holton
“On an ordinary day, while their parents are out, Wesley uses his father's transducer in the robot he is building for the school science fair. Upon putting in the transducer a combination of cell phone signals, the robot, and a freak meteor storm; Wesley, Macy, their dog Pugston and a companion are teleported to another planet. Wesley and company meet the leader of the Soleriens named Giradious on the planet Soleri, in the Heledrium Galaxy, which is 120 light years from the Milky Way. Giradious tells them of the Tojinians, a warring race, who are holding the Soleriens as slaves and trying to amass all the planets Setrinous, a high protein grain. The teens are compelled to help the Soleriens in their fight from tyranny and to get back home. Will he and the others survive the perilous catacombs, creatures, and Tojinian guards? Will they make it home alive?”
I would not last five minutes on an alien planet. IT WOULD NOT HAPPEN. Wesley, Macy and Ashley are already light years ahead of me-- they have to navigate THROUGH the catacombs of an alien planet ( Soleri ) just to have a chance of returning home. All this because Wesley decides to mess around with his father’s new transducer. However, he soon discovers that consequences await their every action. As the teens are thrown onto a planet they have no desire to visit, they discover that each of them is uniquely important and that through working together they just might be able to get back home...
When I read Soleri’s plotline, I am instantly intrigued; the story’s concept is very well thought out! I also really like the morals and life-lessons Holton ingrains into Soleri. For example, Macy checks through the peephole before she opens the door when her parents aren’t home. This is something all kids should do; one just doesn’t open the door when the bell rings without checking it first! I also like how Holton establishes that the teens have not been raised to hurt others. They are very hesitant to use weapons, even in self-defense. I really admire Holton’s ability to create a brand new world with different rules and guidelines. It takes a lot of skill to be able to come up with that kind of detail.
However, I do have a few problems with Soleri. The first real issue I have is that this book is clearly NOT a YA book (which is how it was presented to me.) I don’t classify anything about this book as YA/ teen, and if that’s the audience it is geared towards (ages 15-19), Soleri does not hit the mark. This book has a very simple story line and, though I am intrigued at certain points, I find most of the plot to be fairly predictable. Another issue is that, though Soleri is only 178 pages long, it has an in-depth forward/summary that reveals huge plot details. This drastically takes away from the story. Knowing so many details up front (in such a short story) makes it hard to be surprised or feel suspense while reading the book.
Macy, Ashley, and Wesley are the three main characters, yet I still don’t know what color hair they have, how tall they are, if they are athletic or obese. Nothing. This lack of detail extends beyond their mere physical appearances, leaving characters that aren’t really fleshed out and feel pretty stereotypical; the homemaker mom, the working dad, the flirty teen girl, and the pesky younger brother. I know little about them, and they in turn change little (if at all) throughout the book. Of these characters, I feel I know the dad the best. He is hard working and passionate about his job. Another thing that sidetracks me while reading is that the teens just don’t talk like normal kids – their dialog feels unnatural. I don’t see an 11 or 16 year old speaking with such refined English. No way, especially not in the situations they’re in! That makes it very hard for me to accurately picture them, or relate to them, when they are talking (which is a large portion of the book.)
I will say that Soleri has huge amounts of detail pertaining to the transducer: how it works, what it takes to fix, etc. That part is very well written and thought out-- I just wish the rest of the book had been that detailed. In all fairness, this book would be a GREAT read for middle schoolers or juvenile fiction, as those age-appropriate stories tend to be more streamlined and less complex. I would definitely recommend Soleri to a younger crowd!
I really like this cover. When I look at the planets on the front, I feel like I am in outer space. The cover has a distinct sci-fi feel that I really like! It is very colorful and fun to look at. I definitely think this cover is a good choice for the book!
*Assigning a rating to this book is difficult. For a YA book I would give Soleri a 2 heart rating, but for a middle grade book I would give it a 4 heart rating. So, my final rating here will be 3 hearts because I think this story is simply being targeted at the wrong audience.
I give Soleri 3 out of 5 hearts: Worth Reading
For more information on G. R. Holton visit his website here: http://www.grholton.com/
Or buy Soleri here: