I was shocked when I saw this current cover of Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble, which I will call cover #1, by D. Robert Pease, (2011, 313 pages), midway through reading the same book with cover #2:
You gotta admit, the cover art could hardly be more different. For example, #1: happy, #2: serious. #1: middle grade, #2: YA-ish. #1: story about a boy and his dog, #2: story about a teenage boy with global implications. (Also, it looks like the title is Noahzark, single word). My 9-year old’s take on cover #2: “Angry boy with paint on his face”. (And lipstick?) So which cover do I feel more accurately captures the feel of the story? Neither. The book was not fun, as the flying beagle in cover #1 would suggest. Nor did it explore global issues in depth, as cover #2 led me to expect.
Summary from Goodreads:
Noah lives for piloting spaceships through time, dodging killer robots and saving Earth’s animals from extinction. Life couldn’t be better. However, the twelve-year-old time traveler soon learns it could be a whole lot worse. His mom is abducted and taken to thirty-first century Mars; his dad becomes stranded in the Ice Age; and Noah is attacked at every turn by a foe bent on destroying a newly habitable, post-apocalyptic Earth.
Traveling through time in the family’s immense spaceship, Noah, a paraplegic from birth, must somehow care for the thousands of animals on board, while finding a way to rescue his parents. Along the way, he discovers his mother and father aren’t who he thought they were, and there is strength inside him he didn’t know he had.
I had to force myself to finish this one. The characters never came alive for me, perhaps because the dialogue was stilted. I thought it would be refreshing to read something from the point of view of a paraplegic. The character at times dealt with issues related to not having use of his legs which was interesting, but at other times through the use of a special suit, he was able to run normally. I felt like the author couldn’t figure out how to write a whole plot with a character who had no use of his legs, and I felt let down by this.
I did enjoy the brief foray into 8500 BC, but compared to a book like 11,000 Years Lost (my review) the description of that setting lacked detail. There was a lot of talk about rocketships in Noah Zarc. I’m not into rocketships. Like, at all. Which should be illegal for a lover of time travel tales, because rocket travel may be the closest thing we have to actual time travel. Also there was an extended chase scene, and I’m bored by most chase scenes. The plot dragged for me, but a rocket ship fan and lover of chase scenes might really like the book. D Robert Pease has written a second book in this series, Noah Zarc: Cataclysm.