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336 pages, Hardcover
First published May 2, 2008
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 kind of silly. That being said, the story is quite interesting and imaginative and I think it is one she would like, but due to the cover she changed her mind. So, I think perhaps, a picture of the Onyx Sun, or of the Ship on the Moon, or of the moon itself since a majority of the story takes place there. I think that a reboot of the cover would entice more children to be interested in this book.
On to the story. It’s all about a 10 year old boy, Zack, whose grandfather is a super genius inventor, and the boy is the only one in his family who really identifies with the eccentric old man, Fy. I thought some of the things that Zack did were a little fantastical considering he is only 10, but he is supposed to be a bit of a genius himself, so I allowed my imagination to run a bit wild which made the story totally plausible. I really enjoyed Fy, I thought he was wonderfully developed and expressed, and it was nice to have an imaginative older character in a children’s story. I appreciated that, because to me it seemed like he didn’t lose his creativity like age like some characters are wont to do in other children’s stories. It was like he never really grew up. I thought that Zack was cool, and a good example of what determination and imagination can do for children. I found Max to be a bit annoying, and well she lent that necessary toughness and oomph that was called for in the story line. But, overall I just didn’t really want to know about her. I wanted to know about Fy and Zack.
I thought the idea of a black cube being a never ending was a neat idea and a good way to teach children about renewable energy and the wastefulness of many of our main energy source. I liked the idea of starting a secret moon colony on the dark side of the moon. In fact, the scene in which the engineer is describing how they will sustain life on the moon colony was my favorite out of the entire book. It made me wonder if that could really work, and it set me into creative hyper drive. The bad guy plot was a bit predictable, but I am a 23 year old reviewing this book for 10 year olds, so to them it is probably less obvious. I enjoyed the action scenes, and I liked how all the characters ended up in the end, it wasn’t perfect and I appreciated that, but it wasn’t terrible either, it fit them perfectly.
All in all, I enjoyed the book. I think it is great for 3rd-5th graders perhaps younger if they have a good attention span and are advanced readers. I like that it will get them to use their imagination and think of all the different ways science is fun. It is perfect for boys and girls, which is also rare in books these days. Honestly my only complaint is the cover, but that is minor. So my advice is to ignore the cover and give this book a try, I think your little boy and or girl will thank you for this fun filled trip into a sci-fi filled world of zany, creative inventions and wonderful characters.