Tuesday, 15 November 2011
‘Laddertop’ – Orson Scott Card, Emily Janice Card & Honoel A. Ibardolaza (Tor Seven Seas)
Here’s the blurb,
Twenty-five years ago, the alien Givers came to Earth. They gave the human race the greatest technology ever seen— four giant towers known as Ladders that rise 36,000 miles into space and culminate in space stations that power the entire planet. Then, for reasons unknown, the Givers disappeared. Due to the unique alien construction of the Laddertop space stations, only a skilled crew of children can perform the maintenance necessary to keep the stations up and running.
Back on Earth, competition is fierce to enter Laddertop Academy. It is an honor few students will achieve. Robbi and Azure, two eleven-year-old girls who are the best of friends, are candidates for the Academy. They will become entangled in a dangerous mystery that may help them solve the riddle of the Givers...if it doesn’t destroy the Earth first!
Usually, I’ll write my own blurb but ‘Laddertop’ left me feeling so apathetic that I couldn’t even do that. You’ll have to settle for some ‘copy and paste’ action today I’m afraid... Seriously, we’re talking about a book that failed to engage me on any level here.
The thing is though; the blurb looks quite interesting doesn’t it? There’s a definite ‘Harry Potter in Space’ vibe going on there; I also like the occasional Manga read so thought I’d give it a go. The thing about ‘Laddertop’ though is that it’s a Manga with all the good stuff stripped right out (and that ‘Harry Potter’ vibe gets a little tired after a while).
What I love in my Manga is artwork that really captures who a character is and a storyline that lets you get right inside their head. ‘Laddertop’s’ artwork is functional, to say the least, and the same goes for the plot. You will get an idea of what the story about but don’t expect to make any great connections with the characters. Everything is presented to you in a very ‘X happened and because X happened, Y followed...’ style with nothing really going on underneath. The friendship between Robbi and Azure (and what they must face) holds no surprises whatsoever and is a lot more superficial than the writers would have you believe. I could see what was going to happen and ended up turning the pages through habit rather than anything else.
The idea of the ‘Givers’ was interesting enough and there is a mystery to be solved but neither of these themes are enough to get me back for the next volume based on what I read. Fans of Orson Scott Card might get something out of this and if you’re after some, incredibly light, Manga then this might do the job for you as well. Me though, I’m bailing out here.
Turns out that I had a lot more to say than I thought :o)
Four and a Half out of Ten