A Brief Stay at Earth Human Camp
By Marie C. Collins
Anne and her brother, Atticus, get the biggest shock of their lives when they find out they are half-alien. After that, it doesn’t get much better. Their parents then whisk them off to camp into the lives of many other children—an experience they’ve never had before as their lives up until that point had been spent in isolation, learning all they know from books. As a sinister plot unravels, the two gifted children must learn how to use their powers before everyone ends up dead or worse.
The one delight of this book was the writing. It was smooth and easy-flowing most of the time with a nice sparkle of vocabulary mixed in.
Though there were some mistakes here and there—especially a repetitive slip-up, switching the letter ‘o’ for a zero—overall, I didn’t find it too bothersome to the flow or story.
As stated before, the two main characters are Anne and Atticus. Both of their names are clearly derived from literary figures as the children were heavily raised on the classics. This is even more apparent when their father gives them sidekicks resembling Tinker bell and Huck Finn. And though I found our protagonists loveable if not overly naïve at times, their little robotical, literary helpers weren’t. Both Huck and Tink annoyed me endlessly and above all could’ve been cut out to greatly help the book.
As for the other characters, there were quite a few I enjoyed, and even though the antagonist was and still at the end nothing more than rumors or lightly named, I still found them okay as well.
Here’s where the problems start.
First, there is little to no inciting incident beyond a quick mention by the parents, saying, “Something has happened. Something dangerous. We’re going to hide you in camp to keep you safe.” No mention of what happened or why it’s dangerous—two key elements to draw in readers. Because of this, I found little pulling me forward to read.
Second, I don’t understand at all how in the beginning, both Anne and Atticus are raised like normal human children, getting their fill of normal human culture from all the books read to them and by them—to the next minute, their parents telling them they are half-farbookian and somehow they lose all their humanity. It makes no sense! And yet, that’s what happens. Finding themselves dumped in a human camp, they have no idea how to act and seem to be lacking any knowledge at all regarding to being human. They study the others as if they themselves are one hundred percent alien, and not half. For the first part of the book, this frustrated me to no end. But that wasn’t all.
The first part was all loaded down in the extreme minutia of their first day. I’m serious! After the first ten percent were we get large info dumps about the kids’ farbookian powers and history, they finally get to camp and run through each encounter and event of the day for the next forty percent of the book. They meet some kids that become enemies, then they play, then the enemies do something horrible for no reason, then they play, then the enemies come again. It happens over and over, and gets tiring fast.
All of this is sad because finally by around the halfway mark, the plot decides to join us in what could’ve been an interesting book. Sadly, the author crams all the juicy stuff into the end half, and she really does cram it in. Sometimes, it is overwhelming how much stuff you have to take in. Had this information been delved out slowly over the course of the book, it would’ve been a far better and smoother read.
I wish I could give it a higher score. The end had all the parts of a good read shoved into it like an over-crowded kid’s closet packed with toys. On top of that, the protagonists were interesting and loveable with enough mystery in the last half to make it compelling. Unfortunately, the whole botched first half ruined it. Supposedly, there will be a second book. I hope in this one the author takes her time, focusing on the plot more to get it right than ridiculous situations and characters.
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