Saturday, September 26, 2015

Read for Fun: Laddertop

This is not a review request. I found Laddertop (Books 1 and 2 combo) at my local library and it sounded interesting. It's about these aliens called "The Givers" who gave Earth several space stations for collecting solar energy and mining the asteroid belt, but they can only be maintained by children.  Plot, character and polish.


There are two plots running concurrently and this means two protagonists. Robbi and Azure are best friends and contrasting in their personalities. Robbi is accepted for a position in Laddertop and also receives mysterious dreams about giants and insects. Azure is rejected by SCAN despite being otherwise qualified and is scouted for an organization that researches the Laddertop instead of maintaining it. These two plot threads work well together because they reinforce each other. It's not just a "this thing over here is also happening but unrelated" or an "it's thematic" thing but both of them push the plot forward.
The world building is interesting stuff. For instance, because working at Laddertop means becoming an astronaut, the kids go through zero-gravity training and have to pass high academic standards. It is thus very competitive. Also, the Laddertops have radically altered Earth's energy market with a commercial talking about lucrative and environmentally friendly these machines are.
It's all great stuff until the ending. It's a cliffhanger. Absolutely nothing is resolved. It was frustrating to see all this great build up and world creation but to see nothing come of it. Perhaps the experience is different when reading the two books separately but this just feels cheap to me.
Robbi is a thoughtful girl. While her co-students are whizzing about randomly in a zero gravity sphere, she is holding still and figuring out how to move in such an environment most effectively.
She takes to living in space with a bunch of other kids she doesn't know and the strange dreams with grace. When told that she has to have a chip implanted in her head in order to control a robot monkey as part of her job, her response is "when your brain is funky, add a monkey."
Azure is a genki girl. She goes full throttle on everything, be it sports or Laddertop training. She's also reckless, even in dangerous situations like living on the moon. Fortunately for her, her thoughts move as fast as her feet and she takes advantage of the situation or minimizes the damage.
Other characters I am not fond of. Nine, for instance, comes across as a conflict ball character. She's belligerent to everyone, makes a fuss about the computer chip, and is easily manipulated into spying for a villain.

The artwork looks good. It's not as beautiful as say, CLAMP, but it's still good.

Trickster Eric Novels gives "Laddertop (Books 1 and 2)" a C+

Click here for the previous book review (and also the previous request): "When They Shine Brightest"

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