The Disasters – M.K. England – HarperTeen – Published 18 December 2018
Hotshot pilot Nax Hall has a history of making poor life choices. So it’s not exactly a surprise when he’s kicked out of the elite Ellis Station Academy in less than twenty-four hours.
But Nax’s one-way trip back to Earth is cut short when a terrorist group attacks the Academy. Nax and three other washouts escape—barely—but they’re also the sole witnesses to the biggest crime in the history of space colonization. And the perfect scapegoats.
On the run and framed for atrocities they didn’t commit, Nax and his fellow failures execute a dangerous heist to spread the truth about what happened at the Academy.
They may not be “Academy material,” and they may not get along, but they’re the only ones left to step up and fight.
Well, that was a whole bunch of fun. With spaceship chases, a plot to wipe out the population of both Earth and all the new colonised planets, grand theft spaceship, diverse characters, humour, advanced tech, and plenty of space-y action, The Disasters is a fun and thrilling new YA sci-fi. It will entice fans of Guardians of the Galaxy and thrill sci-fi readers.
Nax is being kicked out of The Academy. He and three others have failed in their dream to use the Academy space program to launch themselves to a new life on a planet or spaceship in a different solar system. But as their shuttle is about to leave the Academy on Ellis Station, they witness the attack and brutal murder of all the occupants of the station. Making a daring escape on the shuttle, these four rejects suddenly find themselves as the only people aware of the plot to wipe out Earth, and the only ones who can stop it.
Action, self-depreciating humour and a colourful new world with exotic planets set the scene for this fun book. I love science fiction and I love the idea of a group of ‘rejects’ being left to save the planet even more. So many YA sci-fi stories are about the best and the brightest, yet The Disasters feature characters who, while still arguably better than your average citizen, didn’t make the cut. But really, the four ‘disasters’ are nothing of the sort. Yes, they might have been kicked out of the Academy program for various reasons, but amongst the four is a fantastic pilot, a medic with serious hand combat skills, a genius, and a smooth talker (which comes in handy when you are trying to talk yourselves out of jail).
There is plenty of romance – or at least sexual attraction, flitting, touching and kissing in The Disasters. Nax finds himself at the head of a love triangle when he is drawn to two of his fellow dropouts. Friendship, alliances and family relationships also feature in the story, giving depth to the action-packed plot.
A big feature of this book is the diversity – the main character is bisexual, others are openly gay or trans, while other characters are Muslim or of other varying faiths, and all represent a variety of ethnic backgrounds. The new planets themselves also feature diverse populations and cultures.
The Disasters is a thrilling sci-fi adventure. As a stand-alone title, it is sure to entice new readers to the sci-fi genre.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Genre: Science Fiction.
Themes: Space, spaceships, piloting, murder, planets, family, broken relationships, romance, LGBT+
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Frequent sexual references and allusions. Coarse language, f*** (10), sh** (50), as***** (19), bi** (3), di** (1), pi** (12), wan*** (3).
Published: 18 December 2018 by HarperTeen.
Format: Hardcover, ebook. 368 pages.