Book Review: The Comet’s Curse


Title : The Comet’s Curse
Author : Dom Testa
Series : #1 : A Galahad Book
ISBN : 978-0-7653-2107-7
Copyright : 2005
Pages : 224

When the tail end of the comet Bhaktul flicks through Earth’s atmosphere, deadly particles are left in its wake. Suddenly, mankind is confronted with a virus that devastates the adult population. Only those under the age of eighteen seem to be immune. Desperate to save humanity, a renowned scientist proposes a bold plan: to create a ship that will carry a crew of 251 teenagers to a home in a distant solar system. Two years later, the Galahad and its crew – none over the age of sixteen – is launched.

Two years of training have prepared the crew for the challenges of space travel. But soon after departing Earth, they discover that a saboteur is hiding on the Galahad! Faced with escalating acts of vandalism and terrorized by threatening messages, sixteen-year-old Triana Martell and her council soon realize that the stowaway will do anything to ensure that the Galahad never reaches its destination. The teens must find a way to neutralize their enemy. For if their mission fails, it will mean the end of the human race …

Strengths

  • Diverse cast of characters.
  • Cover is representative of characters. I appreciate that it wasn’t whitewashed. See the blog The Book Smugglers for more info on this topic.
  • I admired that a great deal of thought went into what would be necessary for a group of people to travel among the stars.
  • This was an exciting premise about the need for space travel that captured my interest.
  • Flashbacks were used to explain why and how decisions were made or to introduce key characters. It gave an immediacy and emotional connection to these events and people.

Weaknesses

  • The name chosen for the comet, “Bhaktul,” is too similar to the word bacteria.
  • Weak science behind the cause of the illness on Earth. Why does it only affect those under eighteen? Why eighteen? Eighteen as a marker of adulthood is a social construct specific to Western civilization. There is no biological explanation of why the disease affects people at this time. Do the teens on board the spaceship harbor the disease in their DNA? If so, won’t they become ill when they turn eighteen? If the disease is environmental, won’t the stowaway have contaminated the ship’s environment?
  • No mention of religion or spiritual support for teenagers on trip. One brief mention of religion prior to their departure, but in a negative sense that it might negatively affecting one teen’s choice to remain on Earth.
  • Villain mastermind’s reason for his opposition to the Galahad project seemed weak.
  • The AI computer’s interjections throughout the book in italics was intrusive and mostly unwanted. It functioned somewhat like a Greek chorus, emphasizing things the author must have felt the reader wouldn’t catch.
  • The narrative technique of switching narrators was unwanted. Switching between an established cast would have been all right, but Testa also included insights into characters such as someone’s mom who never showed up again in the story. I was taken out of the narrative flow whenever this happened.

Readalike Recommendations
Mayflower Project by K.A. Applegate (Book #1 in the Remnants series)

Capture the Flag by John Vornholdt (Book #4 in the Star Trek: TNG Starfleet Academy Series)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

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About shortlibrarian

I am a woman working in the Twin Cities as a programming Librarian.
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