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I bought the audible version of Sunshine at the Academy to pass the time on a road trip with my teenage daughter. It was a hit with my daughter; she didn't want to get out of the car at rest stops as it meant pausing the story. As a middle aged adult listener, the story was light, entertaining and flowed well. I loved the character of Sunshine Blue Mountain with her internal battle between upholding her planet's conditioning of no violence and using her huntress skills to get herself out of trouble. My daughter loved all the different characters, creative descriptions of home worlds, the many action scenes and laughed when the Sunny accidentally took on the bad guys with efficient cold force. There are romantic connections between characters but nothing explicit. We are looking forward to the next book in the series.
80% is spoken in a slow monotone. I kept hearing descriptions of things that should inspire urgency, repugnance, etc, but the tone was almost always the same. Occasionally the voice changed up for dialogue, but it's not enough, all the text has to feel interesting.
Dalton doesn't have an unpleasant speaking voice, I just needed her to do more with it to hook my attention.
The story was okay. We have a 17 year old girl going off to some academy to learn.... stuff... Thinking back on the story this seems to me more of a coming of age story in a scifi costume because there were a lot of nuts and bolts missing from the world building.
- So each intelligent 'humanoid' species can only choose 2 people a year to enter the academy, and they send one person who doesn't have enough money to buy basic supplies? Seems like being chosen for attendance with those kind of odds would come with some kind of sponsorship if for no other reason than to not make the race/species look bad. This would have made more sense if this were some kind of prep school and Sunny was the scholarship kid without a lot of money from home.
- I know the description says the school is training them to be ambassadors of some sort, but I didn't get that from the text. Every subject seems to be about what race kicked what other race's ass, and why some other race succeeded or failed or some sort of physical activity. I'm not seeing the connection. I'd like more reminders throughout the story explaining how what they're doing now impacts their future.
- They say that "earthlings" (presumably humans) are extinct except for a few that were placed in stasis.... So why is earth being used as the standard for everything?" They go out of the way to announce that they eat earth food, use 1000 year old earth technology (plexiglass... I sincerely hope that we've come up with something better in all that time), and refer to everything as "EArth-inches, Earth-Minutes, at 'Earth-Dawn,' or "9:00 Earth Time." This was annoying. A Dawn is just a dawn it doesn't matter where it happens, and it it's always 9:00 somewhere on Earth. I could almost understand if everyone loved earth humans, but that's not the case in the story. They are feared and reviled in spite of having them all frozen, so why are they trying so hard to emulate them?
- In the real world food changes a lot over the centuries... It was weird to see alien races chowing down on 1000-2000 year old Mexican food all the time in spite of the fact that neither Mexicans, nor their species exists anymore.
- A lot of times it seemed like the author was just making up new race names on the fly to make everything sound more exotic. This was distracting at times.
- Watch for echoes (the same word used multiple times in a short passage), and correct word usage. "Hypothecate" for example, does not mean "hypothesize."
In spite of these examples, I think that teens could find this book interesting because the story line focuses on familiar emotions that will resonate with these readers.
- Being the poor kid at a school of rich kids
- Having a crush on a person that is seemingly out of your league
- Feeling awkward in a new social environment
- Trying to judge people based on their actions rather than stereotypes
It's the scenes where these issues are the focus that shine brightest in this novel. I'd like to have seen these magnified, and all the weird non-essential Earth and foreign race references toned down to bump this story up to an extra star or two.
This story wouldn't go on my list of sci-fi reads, but it does belong on teen reading.
Bottom line. It's an OK teen novel coming of age story with a sci-fi backdrop. It's not for hard core sci-fi readers.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
This audiobook is a teen novel coming of age story with a sci-fi backdrop. It is not a hard core science fiction but enjoyable at best.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
A really fun and entertaining audiobook. Some great world building has gone into the different races . It will be interesting to see how the series progress.