In Galaxy Games (Book One: The Challengers), author Greg R. Fishbone takes us on an ambitious and enjoyable ride through the universe. You’ll have to hold onto your seat as this story whisks you from the home of 11-year-old Tyler Sato in Platte Bluff, Nevada, to his cousin’s home in Tokyo, Japan, and on out into the middle solar system, home of M’Frozza of Mrendaria.
Even as the world discovers that a star named in his honor is actually a space ship hurtling towards Earth to recruit him as a player in the Galaxy Games, Ty Sato continues to face everyday life challenges such as sharing a bathroom with his obnoxious older sister and dealing with a best friend who’s not talking to him. These universal themes, along with the overall message of the benefits of a world without boundaries, kept this (usually) sci-fi phobic reader hooked.
Although the scenery changes quickly, characters are introduced with enough richness that it is easy to keep them straight, and clear chapter headings (and clever use of fonts) will help younger readers move from one setting to another with ease. There are several laugh-out-loud moments no matter where you are in the galaxy.
Xenophiles will love how Japanese culture is interwoven masterfully into this intergalactic tale. Words from different languages (Japanese, Mrendarian, and others!) are introduced in rich context so they are easily understood without the story ever feeling pedantic. As a fantastic resource, the book includes author notes on Japanese culture and language, and a fun to read glossary.
Galaxy Games is well suited for middle grade readers, but my son and I also enjoyed reading and laughing out loud together. If you are looking for a fun book that your Sci-Fi, Judo kicking, video-game loving child might enjoy, look no further. You’ll be glad there is more to come in this series!
Check it out here: http://www.amazon.com/Galaxy-Games-Challengers-Greg-Fishbone/dp/1600606601