Friday, October 3, 2014

Land of Nod, The Child by Gary Hoover

I've been a fan of Gary Hoover's  LAND OF NOD, a YA Scifi action adventure since the first book in the series, The Artifact. The series deals with Jeff Browning's search for his physicist father, and is as enjoyable from an adult perspective as any series of books I've read. The first two books in the series cover the disappearance of Jeffery Browning Sr. and his son Jeff's discovery of an artifact in his father's locked office that is really a portal to another dimension. Realizing his father has gone through the portal, Jeff follows him, armed only with his baseball bat. 

He finds himself in a world that is full of dangerous, prehistoric creatures, and is glad he has his trusty bat as he must make good use of it. Eventually he meets a family who give him hope that he will find his father. The world is strange and has many amazing technologies, and yet they are awaiting the advent of one special person, the Prophet--and they believe Jeff is that person. It's a lot for a teenager to take in, but he embarks on helping them with the war they are fighting against the Pheerions. The Child is the third and final book in the series.

But first, THE BLURB:

In this action-filled conclusion to the Land of Nod Trilogy, Jeff Browning needs every one of his newfound powers to face increasingly difficult challenges as he travels across an ocean for an inevitable showdown with a ruthless warlord.

Jeff believes the fate of the world that has adopted him depends on his success, and he is determined to find his father and go home – or die trying.

The book kicks off with Jeff being thrust into a battle. He is desperate to get a locket that may have fallen into enemy hands. He is still armed with his trusty bat, and as with the lockets, it's so much more than a simply bat in this strange world.  He is unsure if the side who he is traveling with are the good guys or the bad guys, and the officer in charge of him, Major Abel, seems like a cold, unfriendly woman. He also fears his father may be working with the Pheerions, 

Jeff is a great character. He's a bit cocky like any fifteen-year-old, and and also humble. He is loyal to his friends and thinks about the wider view of things, and his actions reflect that. The worry that his father may be on the side of the Pheerions, combined with the fact that he has a friend who is a Pheerion makes him wonder what is really right and wrong. He has an ally who is an assassin, and who may have killed two people Jeff cared about. His growing realization that things are not as cut and dried as Major Abel would wish colors his viewpoint.

More than anything, Jeff fears what he will become in his efforts to find his father and get home to his mother.

All in all this is a great finish to an excellent series. If you have a young science-fiction fan in your family this is a perfect series. Written for a wide range of readers, this series is not 'dumbed-down' in any way.  Hoover writes with respect for his readers, and this final book in the series reflects that commitment to excellence. It is a tale full of the core truths of hard-scifi: plausible science, a moral dilemma, and a cast of fabulous characters. It is well plotted and has a terrific and satisfying conclusion. I am giving this book 5 full stars.

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