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The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun

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3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  178 ratings  ·  135 reviews
The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun is an award-winning space adventure for young adults that has earned the acclaim of Publisher's Weekly, Writer's Digest, Amazon.com, and kids and parents everywhere.

The book follows Zack Goodspeed, a perfectly normal 11-year old boy, who discovers his eccentric grandfather has invented a source of unlimited power, called the Onyx Sun
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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 2nd 2009 by Pariah Publishing (first published May 2nd 2008)
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Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleThe Giver by Lois Lowry
Best Intro to Sci-Fi for Young Readers
139th out of 581 books — 654 voters
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff KinneyHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingHoles by Louis SacharThe Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanFledgling by Mark A. Cooper
Best Books for Reluctant Readers
242nd out of 853 books — 1,594 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 425)
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Nancy
Zack Goodspeed is a normal kid with average parents and an eccentric grandfather who invents things. One of these inventions is a source of power that is used to fuel a spaceship destined for the moon. Zack stows away on his grandfather’s ship along with a girl named Max. There is some adventure, treachery and maybe even the beginnings of love?

I don’t know, as I gave up reading 2/3 of the way through. The pace was excruciatingly slow, the characters were one-dimensional, and I finally set the b
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Ilya
Sep 07, 2010 Ilya rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
While reading this book, the target age of the audience becomes very clear: adolescence-young adult. While part of being a good author is knowing your target audience and writing to cater to their level, I found myself disappointed that the author did not offer enough challenges to his audience. First, the English used was rudimentary and contained too many slang terms and even communication styles that take you out of the fictitious universe he is creating. Second, the story is very linear and ...more
Lisa Vegan
Dec 12, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ages 9-13 & all the way up including boys & reluctant readers (& reluctant writers)
I read the advance readers’ unedited copy, a paperback edition. It has significantly fewer pages (265) than does the hardcover edition (31 4 pages) due out on 2/2/09. I wonder what, if anything, I missed. I’m tempted to read “the whole book” if, in fact, there are significant differences/additions. I did notice some typos, although I also often notice those in final copy published books.

I really liked the writing style of this author. This is an engaging story with likeable characters. It’s a ro
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j
A fun and imaginative story carries this indie published children's book along, even when the writing is a little rough in spots. And enjoyable blend of fantasy and sci-fi elements.
Adam
Christopher Mahoney's The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun is the story of a 10-year-old boy named Zack Goodspeed whose mysterious grandfather, Fyodor Confucius Goodspeed, is an eccentric genius who invents unthinkably advanced technology as easily as the average person ties their shoes (think Nikola Tesla with the volume turned up to 11). With the help of one of his classmates, Angelina "Max" Maximillian, Zack stows aboard the enormous spaceship his grandfather has secretly built. Together wi ...more
Auntie J

Zack is burdened with a lovable grandfather who is considered a bit of a crackpot, more dreamer than is practical, and given to unexplained disappearances. Zack and his plucky friend Angelina decide to follow Grandfather one day and find out where he disappears to. What they find out is beyond what they could have imagined. Grandfather turns out to be quite a genius, although a loveably eccentric one. Who occasionally brought to my mind vague remembrances of Commander Caractacus Pott and Willy W
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Abby
This book is about a boy named Zack Goodspeed. He's normal, but his grampa is not. His grampa is makes inventions, lots of inventions. Zack thought he knew everything about his grampa. Until he finds an elevator in the woods. At the bottom he finds.... wait I can't ruin the story for you. You will have to read it for yourself.
I really liked this book. It keeps you reading. If you think this book is a boring science fiction novel with aliens, well, you're wrong. No aliens, but lots of adventure
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Ron McGhee
This story is a wonderful blend of fantasy, adventure, and science fiction which means just about perfect for any young reader. The action was exciting and should easily hold the attention span of elementary school students. The climax of the story, when Zack is trying to decide how to deactivate the bomb, is especially well written and worth the effort to get to the end. Great job Christopher Mahoney.

*Donated to the Lee County Middle School, Leesburg GA due to the fact that the cover art and s
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Marion
Since I am a teacher, it's important to keep up with the books my students like and find cool. "The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun" is such a book. I struggled with sci-fi in the past, like Madelaine L'Engel's "A Wrinkle and Time". Would this be the same experience?

Surprisingly, this was more an action book with events that propelled the plot forward to the point it was difficult to stop after a chapter. Grandfather Goodspeed, the eccentric genius whom we meet as a little boy, seems so unpre
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Scottie
Really liked this book I won. Great book for anyone who likes adventure, science fiction and a little fantasy, but maybe more so for the young adult reader. There is great imagination in the inventions and story line and the characters are well developed and believable. This edition was an advanced review copy and I understand that the final version is a little different. What is really cool is the fact that there is an editable electronic edition of this book online that you can add to, take fr ...more
Aaron
What an entertaining, well designed and satisfying read... As I read this first effort by a clever Mr. Mahoney, I was quickly sucked into a youth parallel to my own, where realistic fantasy is a reality, and where kids become heros. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, the characters are vivid and well developed, the only thing wanting is more pages to turn. This being feels more accessible than other contemporaries in the youth fantasy genre. Drawing far more on a real child's background and world, ...more
Andy
I enjoyed reading Onyx Sun, and read it in two sittings. It was exciting and well paced and Grandfather was a well written character. The book had more humor than I expected, and I actually laughed out loud several times. I'm looking forward to the next book(s)!
Susan
Bravo Chris!
Loved it. What a fun series this is going to make. I've said it before , but I'll say it again. If a book doesn't manage to capture all my emotions then I just wont finish it. This one definitely works for me.
Fy Goodspeed is an excentric inventor that at times seems absent minded, but has a good heart. His grandson Zack thinks the world of him. Zack wants to be a bigger part of his grandfather's life and ends up on the adventure of his own life in the process. I don't want to ruin t
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Lisa
Added 10/4/11

Another rave from a 5th grade boy. I failed in my attempt to get a girl interested, but there's always tomorrow.

Added 9/21/11 after original review
Well Christopher, I have to add a least one more star to my rating (with a potential 4th coming). I gave this book to a 7th grader to read and to give me honest feedback. He LOVED it and I trust his opinion. He said he would give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5 and even noticed it was "Book One" so assumes there will be a second. Also, he read t
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bookczuk
Feb 15, 2009 bookczuk rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Joby
Recommended to bookczuk by: Christopher Mahoney
When I was Zack Goodspeed's age, I met Captain Kirk and his merry band of crew members on the good ship Enterprise. All science fiction/spaceship/boldly go where no man has gone before type tales always bring me back to the Enterprise. It's a character flaw, or perhaps an endearing quirk. Who knows.

In this story, we have young Goodspeed, and his pals boldly going to the moon aboard Grandfather Goodspeed's amazing ship, powered by his even more amazing energy source, the Onyx Sun (a nice oxymoron
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Jessica Bronder
Zach doesn’t really fit in with his parents. They are almost boringly ordinary. They seem to have no creativity or imagination and it is almost painful how they don’t understand their son. Zach does take after his grandpa Fyodor, an inventor. Although his parents don’t want his grandfathers oddness rubbing off on their son, Zach tried to be with his grandfather every chance he gets.

The problem is Fy is often gone for long periods of time. So, when Zach’s classmate Angelina “Max” Maximillian tell
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Cameron
Before I begin, I should mention that this is a review of an advanced reading copy and thus, the views expressed here may not be 100% indicative of the final product's quality. That being said, this is one of those books that has a lot going for it, but is so frustrating and aggravating that any redeeming value it has is buried under it's continuous attempts to annoy its reader.

It's pretty obvious from the outset of The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun that Christopher Mahoney, or at least his
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Shen Li
I originally got this book through a friend of a friend.

For a first book, the author has really done quite well. I could visualize almost every scene as if it was a book form of a movie. I agree with other reviewers here that the writing at times was a bit basic, but then I reminded myself that this book was for middle graders. Often when the protagonist is young, in this case 11, then the book's target audience is a few years younger. So, if I remember what I was reading at 9 or 10, I think I w
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Jackie
Aimed at the 10-14 set, this book is a fun ride for just about everyone. This is the first book in a series about 11 year old Zack Goodspeed and his eccentric and mysterious grandfather Fyodor. It seems that the old gent has invented a new, limitless power source and has set out to colonize the moon. Zack and the new neighbor girl Max sneak their way into plenty of adventures and dangers throughout this book. The illustrations are fantastic, giving a reality to the imaginative sci-fi features in ...more
Tiffany

So “Onyx Sun” was my first good reads book, and to that I am grateful to Christopher Mahoney. It is an advanced readers copy and first impressions were that for a self printed book it was bound quite nicely. I thought that the cover art could use a bit of work, contrary to the popular saying, people do judge books by their covers. This cover was a bit over the top, I appreciated the elements of the story they were trying to convey but I asked my 8 year old “niece” and she said that it looked kin

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L.A.
Zack Godspeed is a pretty normal ten year old kid, he has a mom and dad who love him and he lives in a normal neighborhood. He loves baseball and he hopes to make friends. What sets him apart from the other kids is that he is very smart and he has a a very abnormal Grandfather. His grandfather is not just odd but even looks odd. He is extremely tall and thin, bald except for a tuft of white hair that sticks out from the front of his head and he wears nothing but white. No other color whatsoever. ...more
Frank
The first half of the book is really a fun and intriguing read that both young and old will like. A 5 all the way. Two kids make an alliance to figure out what Zack's crazy (in-genius) inventive grandfather is up to. It results in some great adventures ending up on a space ship his "crazy" grandfather has created and going to the moon and beyond. It holds a promise of really a great adventure into space.

Suddenly after landing on the moon the story changes and an evil man with an evil plot pops o
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Terry
Sep 26, 2011 Terry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the young and young at heart
Christopher Mahoney: Your future's so bright, you gotta wear shades!
This novel is the start of something great for you!

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book. I thought it would be another one of those middle school/young adult sci-fi stories which would lose my interest after the first few chapters due to being too bland, too technical or too monotone.
Happily, I could't have been more wrong about my preconceptions of this book!

First of all, it wasn't strictly sci fi; it was mo
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Deanna
Where was this book when I was a kid?! I wasn't sure what to expect when I won this book as a first reads book, but I am glad that I was given the chance to read and review this book. If you have a kid who is adventurous and you want to get them into reading, this is definitely a book for them. The quirky characters and sarcastic undertone at the beginning draws you into the book. The the funny situations Fy and Zack get into, and then later on Max, keep the book rolling. As a reader, you don't ...more
Dream 4 More Reviews
What thrilled me in the beginning of this read, is regardless of what grandfather Mr. Goodspeed experienced in the fourth grade, he did not give up on his dream of bringing the "Onyx Sun" experiment to life. He reminds me of a scientist emerging and enhances the spirit of the "onyx" powers that be. His grandson, Zack Goodspeed, becomes intrigued with his grandfather's inventions and brings his friends along for the ride (Sanjay and Angelina "Max" Maxmillian).

Join the author, Christopher Mahoney,
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ZB
This book was an interesting and unique story about a boy named Zach Goodspeed and his crazy inventor grandfather. The beginning was pretty slow and it took me a long time to get into this book. The book wasn't that long and it took me over a month to finish reading it. I feel like the writing was lacking a little. Once Zach paired up with his neighbor "Max" and they agreed to go after his grandfather and see what he was up to the story got interesting. It was fun reading about all the neat inve ...more
Steven
I thought I had already reviewed this, but I guess not. On we go...

A very strong debut novel for the younger set. It is precisely the sort of book I would have adored when I was ten and deserves a place in every school library. It has the same flavor as one of those Saturday morning animated specials they would do on ABC when I was a kid, probably hosted by Captain OG Readmore (for those that remember back that far!). There are even a couple of great visual gags, which are among the hardest thin
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Jim
The genre of this book straddles the line between fantasy and science fiction. The science seems almost magical and requires the reader to believe in an unexplained power source, the onyx sun. The story illuminates the links between imagination, invention and belief. An inventor or innovator must first believe something is possible before he attempts it and remain committed to his idea until it reaches fruition. Mahoney shows that, possibility is shaped by imagination (the possible uses of any o ...more
Jessica Buike
This was a highly enjoyable young adult read, that reminded me of what would happen if Lemony Snicket were to join the cast of Star Trek while the kids from The Magic School Bus tagged along. The story was a little predictable for my adult bibliophile mind, but it was good and had an interesting premise. Some of it did feel a little redundant, but since I was reading an Advanced Review Copy I'm going to assume that the final editing process would remedy that. I absolutely LOVE that the author se ...more
Andrea Love
Received for review from goodreads.

A wacky and exciting adventure/coming of age story that perfectly captures the potential of human imagination before it is squashed by adult responsibilities.

Zack and his grandfather Fydor have always had adventures together, but this new quest takes them to space. Zack and his friends must deal with subterfuge and sabotage on Fy's space station, and try to save not only themselves and the crew, but the population of Earth. In the process Zack must reconcile h
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I started writing when I was seven, but it took me twenty years and about ten unfinished manuscripts to find a story I felt compelled to finish. My debut novel, The Incredible Origins of the Onyx Sun, has gone on to win a Writer's Digest award and was one of 50 remaining submissions from a field of 5,000 in the Semifinals of the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.

The Incredible Origins of the
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