A cataclysm in the far past of the opening of this book has killed all the animals on Earth and rendered the earth uninhabitable. People escaped to Mars, and later to Venus. In the present day of the story, the Zarc family has been granted the right to time travel and are in the process of going through time to gather two of every animal that ever lived, in the hope that the animals will be reintroduced to the healing Earth and populate it again. Standing in their way is Haon, who believes Earth should be for people and people only—no animals.
The main character, Noah, is the youngest of the Zarc children, a paraplegic who enjoys zero gravity because it lets him fly, mostly uses a mag lev wheelchair to get around, and looks forward to the day he’s fully grown and can have surgery that will allow him to walk. Noah is also an expert pilot, and a boy with a penchant for getting into hot water over his escapades. Noah’s handicap is treated realistically. We feel his frustration, but also his resiliency in the matter-of-fact way he deals with his circumstance.
The story is aimed at middle graders and does an excellent job of presenting a story that will keep readers in that group turning the pages. My head spun a little at the time travel explanations, but I suspect that MG readers will glide right over it. Occasionally I ran across a word that a middle grade reader would likely have to look up, but in general the vocabulary is appropriate to the target group.
A couple of plot points confused me. The “villain” Haon seems to actually be named Ben. I was unsure how he’d become Haon – Noah spelled backwards. I wondered why the Zarcs were collecting only two of each species—beyond the obvious reason that it mirrors the story of Noah’s Ark—since that would severely limit the gene pool. It struck me odd that a story that took such pains to describe the mechanics of time travel would gloss over real issues of genetics and heredity. The rescued cavegirl, Adina, seems a little too blasé about the time-traveling world in which she finds herself.
All in all, this is a fun read that will likely please and spark the imaginations of its young readers. Four stars.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.