About the Book
Title: Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble (Book #1) Author: D. Robert Pease Publication Date: July 22, 2013 Publisher: Evolved Publishing (2nd Edition) Number of pages: 214 Recommended age: 9+
Summary: Noah lives for piloting spaceships through time, dodging killer robots and saving Earth’s animals from extinction. Life couldn’t be better. But the twelve-year-old time traveler learns it could be a whole lot worse. His mom is kidnapped and taken to Mars; his dad is stranded in the Ice Age; and Noah is attacked at every turn by a foe bent on destroying Earth… for the second time.
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My Thoughts: Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble is the first book in a science fiction series following the time-traveling, world-hopping adventures of Noah Zarc and his family. Noah is a twelve-year old boy who is part of a family of animal rescuers attempting to re-populate Earth in the 31st century following a natural disaster of epic proportions known as the Great Cataclysm. In the future, we discover that humans are forced to flee Earth and colonize Venus and Mars. When we first meet the “Zarcs” (Noah Sr. and Hannah Zarc, along with their children Sam, Hamilton, and Noah Jr.), we learn that they are using a large space ship known as the ARC (Animal Rescue Cruiser), to travel back in time to rescue two of every species of animal ever to have lived in an attempt to build and preserve a sanctuary for them on Earth.
But not everyone stands behind this cause. With the Poligarchy in complete control of the colonized worlds, and as Venus grows increasingly over-populated, there is amounting underground resistance with the rogue leader, Haon, intent on stopping the ARC project and re-populating Earth with humans while using a virus to wipe out the fauna. When Haon succeeds in kidnapping Hannah and Noah Sr., it is up to Noah Jr. and his siblings Sam and Hamilton to stay one step ahead of Haon in order to rescue their parents and to prevent another devastating extinction of Earth’s animals. And, there’s still SO MUCH MORE to this well-crafted story!
Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble features a complex plot filled with action and intrigue; mind-bending time-travel and world-hopping; and futuristic gadgets and technology that will leave science fiction aficionados drooling with appreciation. The author has accomplished the tall task of immersing readers in both the life of early humans in the Ice Age and in post-apocalyptic times when technological advances have both benefitted humans and contributed to their downfall. One of the highlights of the story for me was the character of Adina, the Ice Age tween who becomes a stowaway on the ARC. I appreciated how she was not depicted as an under-developed and unintelligent person, but rather her unique strengths and perspective were an integral part of the story and were key to rescuing Noah’s parents and preventing Haon from achieving his goal.
In addition to Adina, this book features a well-rounded cast of characters led by Noah Jr., the intelligent, courageous boy who just happens to be in a wheelchair, and the Zarc family’s nemesis, Haon, a formidable foe who will stop at nothing to destroy all that was accomplished through the ARC project. I have endless notes about how well the author integrated Noah’s disability in the story; or rather, how the author focused on Noah’s “abilities”. For example, here is an interesting discussion between Noah and Adina regarding an opportunity for Noah to travel to Mars to “get new legs” so that he can walk.
I caught her glancing at my legs.
“I’ve been this way since I’ve been born,” I said. “Mom explained it was some kind of birth defect – means something went wrong with me when I was still in her belly.”
“So you’ve never walked?”
“Well, we have a suit I can wear. It allows me to walk, almost as if my legs worked, but it’s awkward and uncomfortable.”
She looked upset.
“Since I’ve always been this way, it doesn’t really bother me much.”
“And you have this chair you can ride around on.”
“Mom says when I stop growing I can go to Mars for an operation. They can give me new legs. Then I’ll be able to walk just like you, almost.”
She thought for a moment. “But won’t that feel wrong, if you’ve lived your whole life without doing it?”
“I guess.” I hadn’t thought about that. “I just get so frustrated sometimes, like people don’t think I can do everything they can.”
This is an interesting interchange and is a prime example of the way Noah’s disability is handled throughout the story. This is about the empowerment of someone with a disability not the limitations they have. In short, I really appreciated how Noah is portrayed as a role model for other children who may have a disability.
You probably have noticed the play on words with the title: Noah Zarc sounds a lot like “Noah’s Ark” and the main premise of the story is that there is a family led by Noah Sr. and Noah Jr. who rescue two of every species of animals to return to Earth. I loved this play on words and I was tickled pink when an elder from the tribe in the Ice Age told the folk tale of the hunter who was asked by the Creator to gather up the animals in a large boat to keep them safe from the flood of his tears as he wept over the wickedness of mankind. Sound familiar? I thought this was a very clever part of the story – loved it!
My Bottom Line: Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble is the first book in a riveting science fiction series for middle grade readers. The story features non-stop action, mind-bending time-travel and world-hopping, an intricate plot with many surprises, and a solid ensemble cast of characters led by Noah Zarc Jr. who just happens to be in a wheelchair (although that hardly stops him from accomplishing ANYTHING). This is a real page-turner that will appeal to advanced readers who love science fiction and can appreciate the inclusion of multiple sub-plots touching on a number of themes including dis/ability, geopolitics, environmentalism and conservation, and even bioethics. In short, this is not a light and easy read, but rather, it is very thought-provoking. I loved it and highly recommend the series to advanced readers aged 9 and older.
* I received this book free-of-charge from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own. The author is participating in our Book Promotion services.
More Buzz About the Noah Zarc Books
Book 1: “Pease’s strength as a storyteller lies in his ability to connect multiple time periods imaginatively, as well as Noah’s excited, fast-paced narration.” ~ Publishers Weekly
Book 1: “If I had read this book at age 10, I think it would have made me love SF just as much as reading Asimov did. If you like the non-stop action and humor of Rick Riordan’s Olympians books, I think you’ll also like Noah Zarc.” ~ Sher A. Hart, book blogger and author
Book 2: “This is another great mind-bender. The wild time jump details are fabulously thought out and cause some unexpected results.” ~ Michelle Isenhoff, Children’s Author
Book 2: “A well-written, adventurous read for young readers and even adults, Noah Zarc blasts through space and into your imagination.” ~ TKristufek, Amazon Reviewer
Book 3: “I was completely captured by the characters, the action and the issues and questions: set in fantasy but integrating concepts and engaging readers with a fun tale that teaches as it entertains.” ~ Gaele, Amazon Reviewer
About the Author: D. Robert Pease
D. Robert Pease has been interested in creating worlds since childhood. From building in the sandbox behind his house, to drawing fantastical worlds with paper and pencil, there has hardly been a time he hasn’t been off on some adventure in his mind, to the dismay of parents and teachers alike. Also, since the moment he could read, books have consumed vast swaths of his life. From The Mouse and the Motorcycle, to The Lord of the Rings, worlds just beyond reality have called to him like Homer’s Sirens. It’s not surprising then he chose to write stories of his own. Each filled with worlds just beyond reach, but close enough we can all catch a glimpse of ourselves in the characters he brings to life.
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Noah Zarc: Mammoth Trouble Blog Tour Schedule (2014)
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