Author: D.J. MacHale
Genre: Middle School, Sci-Fi
Series: Voyagers #1
Hardcover, 224 pages
Publication: September 1, 2015 by Random House BFYR
Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
Earth is about to go dark. Without a new power source, life as we know it will be toast. A global competition is under way to determine who will join the secret mission that might just save us all. Project Alpha is a contest of physical challenges, mental puzzles, and political alliances.
The battle is fierce, and only four kids will make the cut. The Voyagers will journey to the far reaches of space, collecting unique elements and facing unbelievable dangers;The future of our planet is in the hands of four kids. Sure, they’ll be the best in the world . . . but can they save the world?
I’ve recently started reading more middle grade fiction because I really enjoy all the books aimed within that audience age group. And Voyagers: Project Alpha is no exception. Project Alpha focuses on a group of twelve-year-olds who volunteer to help find a new energy/fuel source for Earth. Readers follow along as the children compete against each other for one in four spots on Team Alpha. Team Alpha's first mission is to retrieve 1 of 6 ingredients needed to create 'the source' (energy to power Earth) and the first ingredient is on an alien planet where dinosaurs aren’t extinct!
I am definitely not within the age group for Project Alpha but I had so much fun reading it! Voyagers is the first of a six book multiplatform series and it is unlike anything I’ve ever experience. The series will be published within the year, each book written by a different blockbuster/Best Selling author. Not only are we experiencing the story and characters by reading the book, but there is also an interactive site in which readers can log on and explore the missions, check out the alien planets, solve codes (hidden within the book) to unlock special messages/information, and even design your own ZRK Commander (Steam)! This is probably the best idea I’ve ever seen aimed at middle-grade readers, and I know a lot of kids will love it especially in this tech-savvy era (My niece and nephew who are age 5 & 7…know way more about computers than I did at that age!).
The whole plot with children being the savor of man-kind isn’t anything new really, but nonetheless, I found the characters and action-packed plot entertaining. While the characters were pretty well-written, with the length of the book I hope that in subsequent books the characters will be more fleshed out so we can get to know them better. I loved that there was action from start to finish. My favorite part of the book is probably the competition and training. If I had to compare this book to another, it’d be Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, the movie not the book (since I've only seen the movie) but I loved it. Project Alpha reminded me a lot of the movie, which isn’t a bad thing. Overall, Project Alpha was a great start to a new series. MacHale did a wonderful job setting the stage for the entire series and I can’t wait to read more of it!