Cathy Keaton's Reviews > Laddertop, Volume 1

Laddertop, Volume 1 by Orson Scott Card
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Sep 15, 12

bookshelves: manga-comic-books, read-in-2012, reviewed
Read from June 07 to 08, 2012

Robbi is a young girl (in Middle School, I think) who ends up getting into Laddertop Academy because her mother secretly sent in her application. Her best friend Azure wants to go so badly, and they both get accepted to the academy for training. While there, Robbi has a string of strange experiences connected with to the mystery surrounding the aliens that gave Earth the Laddertop towers. No one really knows anything about the advanced technology, how to change it, how to fix it, and definitely not how to replicate it. It seems the reason only young children are capable of fitting into the small tubes for maintenance is very much intentional on the part of the mysterious alien givers.

Robbi is the main character and she's just an average girl her age, although perhaps a little short in stature. That's a good thing for kids in this world because the smaller and smarter you are, the more likely you are to get selected to attend Laddertop Academy. Azure is a spunky tomboy who's been dreaming of attending the Academy her whole life, although Robbi never wanted to leave home because her mother's husband is physically violent and she's afraid he'll start abusing her little sisters and mother while she's away. I like Robbi, but with so little of the story contained in this volume, it's hard to get a clear idea of her personality.

The concept of this story is really great—something very much up my alley. It reminds me of my favorite science fiction anime, which I believe is an influence. The mystery surrounding the aliens is very intriguing because they seem a little too sneaky. What are they up to? All the adults running the Laddertop towers try to uncover the towers' secrets only to be constantly stumped. While I really like the premise and the world building, both are well done, I'm not usually into stories meant for younger children, so this one seemed a bit lackluster to me.

Because it is a manga-style comic book, the writing is done through talk bubbles and captions, and it's done well. The artwork, which has to be mentioned, on the other hand, is not my favorite. I just didn't feel like the quality was good enough and the style wasn't very appealing to me, either.

Favorite Scene/Moment: I liked the scene where Robbi picked up a metallic bug-looking object and it suddenly started carving out some alien symbols into her arm. That was unexpected and very cool! Never found out what any of it meant in this volume, unfortunately.
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Reading Progress

06/07/2012 page 95
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