Synopsis: Crater was born on the moon. Now that he's sixteen, he helps mine Helium-3, the war-ravaged earth's best power supply. When Crater's boss, who also happens to be one of the most influential men on the moon, gives him a secret mission, Crater complies without thinking about the Colonel's motives. He takes on the mission, get to Armstrong City and collect something from coming from earth on a freighter, and along the dangerous dustway, runs into many adventures and also makes some new friends.
My rating: 9/10 stars.
Things you should know: Despite being a Christian novel, evolution is mentioned once or twice... And there's something mentioning billions of years ago.
I don't think that there are any swear words. Characters are mentioned to swear, but the words aren't actually written. Example: "Crater used an oath stronger than any he'd ever used before."
There is quite a bit of violence in this book, though nothing is really described in detail. Also, a couple of times characters are said to give a crude hand signal. It isn't described, though.
There is one kiss and one nearly kiss. But again, nothing is described in detail which is good. Actually, this was one of the better kiss scenes that I've read.
My thoughts: This book surprised me SO much! I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did! I bought Crater on a whim from the Christian bookstore with a Christmas gift card because, first and foremost, I liked the cover. It's beautiful, especially in person. Second of all, it was like no other Christian book I've ever seen. A sci-fi adventure taking place on the moon! But then I saw, "an adventure with a little bit of romance" on the bottom and I was like, "Oh no. The romance is going to be the whole plot." Though it was there, it didn't take over the whole book, so I enjoyed that.
Actually, if I was to compare this book to any book... it would be my own. There are definitely parallels between Crater and After the Twelfth Night. They are both adventures with a bit of romance. And they both have their overarching plotline with lots of little adventures in between.
That was one of things that I adored about this book. The main plot was get to Armstrong City to get the package that the Colonel needs. But on the way to Armstrong City, Crater, who is travelling as a scout with a convoy going to the City to transport Helium-3 to earth, runs into lots of adventures. I love stories that are like that. It's almost as if the main plot isn't the most important one. And it also confuses the reader... who is the bad guy?
This novel didn't really have one set bad guy. It seemed like there were lots of people trying to stop the convoy from getting to Armstrong City, but none of them were really the bad guy. At first blush, you expect the Colonel to be the bad guy... But after awhile you start to think that maybe he just has his own hidden agenda and that he's really a nice guy. I'm intrigued by stories that don't have a set bad guy.
The characters were pretty good. They weren't drop dead amazing... But they were better than your average character, I think. They had their good qualities, and they had their faults.
Crater is a genius with fixing and inventing things, and he's very humble about it, probably because he thinks that he's not as good as he really is. He can also be very jealous.
Petro is Crater's best friend, and also the Prince of Wales, heir to the throne of England... If the English monarchy still existed. This book is set about 100 years in the future, when earth has been ravaged by war, and most of the governments have failed. Petro is 19 and acts as Crater's older brother. Actually, at first, Crater and Petro's relationship reminded me a lot of Peter and Tony's relationship from Haphazardly Implausible. Both Crater and Peter are nice guys who kind of think the best of people and are just good at heart. And both Petro and Tony are more troublemakers. Though Tony only plays pranks.... Petro gambles and is a bit of a womanizer.
Then there's Maria.... She's the Colonel's granddaughter and the love interest. Not too much to say about her. She's not a huge part of the storyline; I felt like she was there just to add some romance, which I'm okay with because I did the same thing with After the Twelfth Night. She doesn't hinder the plotline and adds another dimension to the story (because she will get that cargo to her grandfather no matter what). She's a bit of a spitfire.
There are some other minor characters like Captain Teller, Mr. Justice, and the sheriff.
Then there's the gillie. The gillie is basically a living database. It's a little clump of sentient slime mold cells. It's illegal, and yes, it knows that. It was Crater's parents (before they died) and is fiercely loyal to Crater. It helps him and watches out for him and saves him on several occasions. It kind of steals the show and is absolutely adorable. Kind of like a Tribble, only it hates to be touched.
And there's Pegasus. He is super cool too. As is the kitty cat.
Not only was this an adventure with intrigue, action, and romance... it also dealt with some moral stuff! There are two groups of genetically altered humans on the moon (along with all the heel-3 miners). One group is the Umlaps, who have no ears. They are looked down on as dirt, but Crater challenges others to see them as humans, just like everyone else.
The other group are Crowhoppers, humans bred for ruthless killing. They are the main villains of the story. But who are they working for? And will a war break out with them? The answer hopefully comes in book two (which I am now dying to read!).
One of the most impressive things about this book was the world building! Oh wow! SO impressive! Homer Hickam, the author, worked for NASA in the '80's so he knows about the moon. And he really put that information to good use! He doesn't just tell you that the characters are wearing space suits. He tells you how the space suits are made and with what material and what makes this material better than that material. He tells you what will happen if you take off your suit outside of the airlock and even where your waste goes! He explains living conditions on the moon and how for two weeks, it's scorching and for two weeks, it's chilly and that the spacesuits regulate human temperatures. And it isn't boring either. He makes it enjoyable to read!
This is a truly amazing book - one of the best that I've read in a very long time. I think that anyone who is a fan of sci-fi or just well-written books would really enjoy this one!
Would I recommend it? YES! It's a great book. Go find a copy!
Live long and prosper!