Reviewed by Natalie Tsang for TeensReadToo.com
One of the complaints I've heard from friends who don't like reading fantasy and science fiction novels is that it's hard. First of all, the names, whether they be characters or scientific concepts, are tricky to pronounce. Geography's important and, usually, there's an elaborate back story. This is a genre where you have to put a little in to get something out. Admit it, it would be pretty hard to understand HARRY POTTER if you didn't know the difference between Occlumency, the art of blocking mind readers, and Arithmancy, the study of ancient runes. HECATE'S CHILD by Jeff Dunn is a sort of book that I would recommend to friends who are not used to the worlds of robots and magic.
The novel opens up with twelve-year-old Joey Copernicus exploring the underground tunnels of the lunar settlement, Rainbow City. He finds an amnesiac girl named Diana who has escaped from people who are trying to hurt her. Together they try to regain her memory and are helped by Kim Ho, a virtual Moonskimmer champion, and Tycho Mundy, a computer whiz. They soon discover that Diana is no ordinary girl and that she is somehow connected to a mysterious organization called "Hecate." But just when they are beginning to get some answers, Diana is kidnapped and taken to Earth. Joey, Kim, and Tycho will not only have to break the law but also risk their lives to get her back.
While there is some memorization involved, it's never a chore. I was surprised with how familiar this futuristic world seemed. There's even pizza - though the pepperoni is processed fungus. Sure there is some strange stuff like bacteria-sized computers called "nanobytes," visors that act like computer screens called "gogs," and holographic servants called "Friendlies," but they seem more like twists on today's technology than far-fetched theories. Since Diana has amnesia, the bulk of the information comes up in conversation, which doesn't bog down the story. Jeff Dunn is also great at combining information and action at the same time.
I think that this book is a fun and easy read. If the set-up still gets you down, the characters are well worth the read. They're not like the heroes that come with their own theme music that my friends sometime whine about. Jeff Dunn's main character, Joey, is just a guy who's trying to deal with his parents and help his friends. Totally relatable.