Wednesday, July 26, 2017

SpacePop, Volume Two - Rocking the Resistance

Rhea, Luna, Athena, Hera, and Juno - the colorful all-girl YouTube sensations known as SpacePop, are back in the second volume of this book series written by Erin Downing.  I purchased both volumes of this series before I ever read the first one - otherwise, after reading the first one, I likely would have never picked up this book. However, since I did, I figured I might as well read it.

Sadly, this book was not any better than the first. Yes, I do realize that I am not the intended audience for this series, neither in age nor in gender. However, I'd like to think that I read enough books aimed at the pre-teen audience to be able to discern what is good and what is not. And as far as SpacePop goes, it's not the plot of the story itself that is so bad, but the actual writing and execution of the story that takes away from the enjoyment.

The story itself finds the five-girl space band on yet another adventure for "The Resistance" - this time, they are searching for the Empress's Dungeon of Dark Doom, which could be the place where the evil Empress is holding the girls' families. Thus, finding the dungeon would not only help the resistance, but also free the royal families, thus permitting them to overcome the Empress and win freedom back for their galaxy.  The resistance has narrowed down the location to five planets, so the girls use their band as a cover to get onto the planets and seek out the dungeon. Their ever-loyal butler, Chamberlin, is still acting as their manager, and the blogger/stalker Bradbury continues to follow the girls' exploits, unknowingly helping them fight for the resistance.  In each planet they visit, the girls get one step closer to finding their parents, and along the way, they manage to sabotage more and more of the Empress's plans.  The ending, though, is bittersweet, although it does leave a bit of a cliffhanger that may never be resolved...

And that brings us to the writing.  It is very stilted, very dry, and without any real emotion.  The characters come across very much as stereotypes, and perhaps that is just the author's way of making sure the reader is able to differentiate among the character (with five lead characters, they do have to all be different so as to make them recognizable).  However, there is no real emotion with any of them that comes across in the writing, and they all feel very cardboard.  The only character that actually feels "real" in any sense of the word when you are reading the story is Bradbury.  I've never watched the cartoon on YouTube, so I'm not sure if the writing there is any better, but it's a shame, really - this is a rather cool idea, so it would be interesting to see what another author could do with these characters.

At least there were two short sections of comic pages along the way, so it helped give the book some redeeming value (although some of the supporting characters are not drawn at all the way I imagined they would be).  No doubt, though, this will be the last SpacePop novel I read.

RATING:  2 android soldiers out of 10 for at least trying to provide a new take on the "Jem and the Holograms" idea.

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