Book Review-Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble By: D. Robert Pease

by 7:00 AM 7 comments
I've decided to do something a little different for my review of Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble. As this book is geared towards readers in the Middle School Grade level, I decided to see if my 10 year old son Skyler (Grade 6) would like to offer up his views on it as well. His review is located just after mine, and I can't stress enough how proud I am of what he came up with, he really did an incredible job. But without further ado, here is my review for Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble! 

Let's start this review with what peaked my interest in the novel itself....

Time Travel. Spaceships.

I was already hooked when I spoke to D. Robert Pease about reviewing his breakout novel Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble. I wanted to really dig into it because I was curious how a writer would approach the complex concepts of puddle jumping through time on a mission to repopulate the earth centuries after cataclysm.

The storyline is of course inspired by that of the famed biblical flood, but the inspiration stops there. This is not a religious novel, and the references are relegated to the name of the protagonists (and his father), and their mission of collecting examples of every living creature on earth, two at a time.

The novel is written to the Middle Grade level demographic, which in recent years has been handed over by default to franchises such as Twilight, Percy Jackson, and Harry Potter . I say default because aside from Percy Jackson (and perhaps Harry Potter), few of these books seem to actually be written with the young readers they are targeting in mind, they are simply taken up because there is little else for Middle Grade children (especially boys) to latch on to. This is one of the reasons that I decided to hand my ereader over to my son Skyler and let him read it as well. His review is located just below the three-dimensionally rendered image near the bottom of this review.

Another theme that really caught my attention is that none of those novels are Science Fiction, they all reside squarely in the realm of fantasy. Being a Science Fiction author myself I was intrigued to see how the aforementioned concepts of time travel and living in space are presented to readers who may not be well versed in paradoxical plot lines. If that last sentence has you shaking your head a little, you understand what I mean.

Generally, I like to approach reading from a writing perspective-i.e. how well the story is written, if it's plausible, and how consistent is the character development. Am I being overly picky on a novel that is geared towards children? In the beginning of the novel, if I had stopped around 50-60 pages in, I would have said yes.

The Antagonist had at that point had been presented as evil for the sake of evil. That's not a problem of course, as a story of this nature (written in the first person) is all about simultaneous discovery ( the character finds things out at the same time as the reader, there is no discrepancy between the two ). If the character knows everything up front, it would almost preclude any chance of tension and make for an extremely boring read.

Of course, the Antagonist ( Haon) is not without motive, which we discover near the end of the novel. There are characters introduced at points that would appear superfluous until you remember that this is the first novel in an ongoing series, and there is a character that at times seems to grasp complicated concepts a little too easily, but other than that the storyline is tight, the tension palpable, and the consequences realistic.

And that last note, the bit about the consequences in this novel being realistic, is where I think this novel really shines. Stories targeting the younger demographics are expected to convey morals, or lessons. One reason why I don't write to that demographic is because I've found it very difficult to teach morals and lessons through a world that seems to be devoid of such morals. The bad guys often win, the good guys are severely handicapped by their virtue, and no one gets out unscathed.

Your first indication of this is that Noah is a paraplegic, which means that he has use of his hands but not use of his legs. He doesn't dwell on it, and instead uses it much the same way that any kid his age would, an excuse to get out of doing things he doesn't want to do and as an excuse to test out new gadgets meant to make his life easier.

You get the sense that he has been overcoming this physical deficiency for so long that the only reason it is mentioned at all is to give a reason why he is riding around in a magnetically levitated chair instead of walking. It both keeps us from feeling sorry for Noah and gives us an insight as to why he feels he can overcome any obstacle, because he's been doing it since birth. This, along with other parts of the novel, show that it is possible to show us a "real" world, meaning one with problems more complicated than who forgot to return a borrowed toy, and also target this age group.

Somewhere along the way, I had gotten it into my head that in order to write good children's literature, I had to tie up almost every loose end in order to make the "happily ever after" stick upon conclusion. I couldn't see how meaningful lessons about life could be taught without showing how the consequences of major missteps, i.e.-death, are involved. Obviously, death is a touchy subject among the parents of youth readership.

I lacked the insight as to best go about this, but I realized that there are other ways to teach about loss and consequence than having beloved characters die horrific deaths on the page, as D. masterfully handles this as the novel draws to a close. The novel still pulls a punch or two, but never have I seen a novel directed at this demographic so adept at handling heady concepts such as these.

Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble is a great start to what I can see becoming a landmark young science fiction series. I was entertained during my adventures through time, brought home to a satisfyingly realistic conclusion, and even learned a thing or two about the craft of writing along the way. I am rating Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble 24/25, (see graphic below for breakdown).

It is absolutely worth a read, and if you happen to have a young reader on your Christmas list that is interested in Science Fiction, I highly recommend that you introduce them to the Zarc family.

And as promised, my son has produced a review of his own for this novel, and it is just past the image below. It's his first ever guest post on my blog, so if you like what he had to say, or simply want to offer encouragement, please post comments below. And before you ask, yes, he really is 10years old, and yes, he really did write the review himself!



Skyler Godsoe's Book Review 
of 
Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble

This was a fascinating story full of wonder and adventure, which I find surprising considering the fact that I normally don't like books that my dad recommends. This story is about a boy named Noah Zark (heh, get it, Noah Zarc=Noah's Arc?), who although only 12, is an accomplished pilot. 


The story starts out with Noah running away from killer robot sentries sent by a man named Haon. Noah has to use the time jumping device built into his thermosuit to escape so that he can bring the pair or extinct animals back to the ARC, or Animal Rescue Cruiser, parked on the moon. His family lives there, jumping back through time to find animals that are extinct on earth when he was born and holding them on the ship until they can bring them back to their time, now that the earth has recovered from a worldwide catastrophe.

As Noah is going through these adventures, he feels a great weight on his shoulders, knowing that he (and his family) are being relied on to save all of the species on earth. As I am only 10, I think he handled it all way better than I would have, even with two good legs!

I give this book 4 and a half star rating because it is a fascinating story, full of adventure, and I enjoyed it alot. I don't believe that the cave men and women would have been that advanced during the ice age even if we could communicate with them, but until someone hands me a universal translator and the keys to a time travelling spaceship of my own, I will have to take D. Robert Pease's word for it ;-)


(Blog Tour Notes below provided by author)

Blog Tour Notes


OVERVIEW

Noah Zarc:
Mammoth Trouble
Noah lives for piloting spaceships through time, dodging killer robots and saving Earth's animals from
extinction.

Life couldn't be better.

But the twelve-year-old time traveler learns it could be a whole lot worse. His mom is kidnapped and
taken to Mars; his dad is stranded in the Ice Age; and Noah is attacked at every turn by a foe bent on
destroying Earth... for the second time.

Get your copy today by visiting Amazon.com (available in paperback or as an eBook) or
the online retailer of your choice (more links below).

CASH PRIZES


Guess what? You could win a $50 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just
leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the
raffle. I could win $50 too by having the most comments. So tell your friends to stop by and comment on
this post too!

GIVEAWAY


Win 1 of 5 copies of the paperback version of Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble by entering the giveaway on
GoodReads
.

THE AUTHOR


D. Robert PeaseD. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox
behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he
hasn't been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike. Also, since
the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the
Motorcycle
, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him
like Homer's Sirens. It's not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds
just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters.

Discover ways to connect with the author by visiting his site at www.drobertpease.com

BOOK TRAILER



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Chris Godsoe

Developer

Christopher Godsoe is a science fiction author in Central Maine. A single father, he spends his time enjoying video games with his son, cooking, and is an unrepentant film buff.