Title: Escape From the Forbidden Planet
Author: Julie Anne Grasso
Year published: 2012
Publisher: Julie Anne Grasso
Number of pages: 162
Recommended age: 9+
To purchase: Visit Our Bookstore (available for 99 cents as an e-book)
Reviewed by: Renee and Danielle (Mother and Daughter)
Summary (from Back Cover): Caramel Cinnamon thought the worst day of her life was when her grandparents, the King and Queen of the Elves of Cardamom, went missing. She was wrong! The day she spills sticky toffee syrup onto her father’s computer – that’s when her worst nightmare begins. She finds herself marooned on a forbidden planet sent there by an evil clone with a very sticky secret. Caramel is desperate to escape. If she doesn’t she will lose her dreams of returning to Cardamom to become a healer like her Mum. Luckily, she has a secret of her own and the lives of her family and friends depend on it!
1. What is the story about? This story is about an elf named Caramel and her Mom and Dad who are captured by a clone race and sent to “The Forbidden Planet”. The clone race is looking for a new source of energy and they find it on Caramel’s planet, Cardamom.
2. What do you think of the cover and/or the pictures in the book? The cover of the book was ok, but it didn’t show much. I wish there were more pictures throughout the book.
3. Who is the main character(s)? Do you like her? How is she like you or not? The main character is a girl elf named Caramel. She’s way older than me in the book. She could read what people were thinking. I wish I could read people’s minds so I could know what they are thinking. I have one friend in particular whose mind I want to read.
4. What is your favorite part of the story? The story started getting really good when they got kidnapped and sent to the Forbidden Planet. I was surprised when I found out what the Forbidden Planet was. I liked how the elves in the story speak a different language and how they had to use a translator bracelet when they went to the Forbidden Planet.
5. What is your least favorite part of the story? My least favorite part of the story was the start because it took a long time to get to the really good parts. I also felt that the story was really complicated and there were parts I didn’t understand like about what a clone is for example.
6. What lessons did you learn from this story? In the story, Caramel has a bad leg and when we first meet her, she is a bit scared to do stuff. Then she becomes really brave because she has to save her family. Having a bad leg doesn’t stop somebody from doing things.
7. Who do you think would like this book? I really liked this book and I would recommend it to girls 10 and older.
Daughter Rating: ★★★★½
Daughter Rating: ★★★★½
My Thoughts: Julie Anne Grasso has created an action-packed story featuring a range of interesting and imaginative characters (i.e., elves, the Alexanders, and other creatures), intergalactic travel, advanced medical and scientific technology, and complex environmental and conservation issues. Escape From the Forbidden Planet contains an intricate plot which slowly unfolds until you’re hooked and you are left on the edge of your proverbial seat wondering what will happen next.
We are first introduced to Gabriella “Caramel” Cinnamon as she is slipping into unconsciousness after an accident – an accident, we learn later, that has left her with a permanently injured leg causing her pain as well as a pronounced limp. Oh, did I mention she’s a princess? But, she’s not a typical princess – this is a t-shirt, cargo-pants, boot-wearing, scooter-riding, and essentially unassuming elvish princess who jokes around with her friends and works at the local pizza shop. I love the way Caramel is portrayed demonstrating intelligence, compassion, vulnerability, courage, and loyalty. In short, Caramel rocks!
The story itself is highly imaginative and original mixing “fairy tale” and “science fiction” genres to create a unique and engaging plot. When I first started the book, I thought I would be reading a typical story about elves living in a forest with magic involved, and so forth. Boy was I wrong! This is a high tech, sophisticated story with a well-developed and sympathetic main character and covering a number of fairly complex sub-plots and themes.
Escape From the Forbidden Planet could be interpreted as providing social and political commentary on globalization. The clone “race” of Alexanders find themselves depleting their lone source energy, IQ-Crystals. Desperate to find an alternative energy source, Alexander222 stumbles upon Caramel’s home planet, Cardamom, where he discovers that caramel sauce contains the right combination of ingredients to power his high-tech gadgets. The problem: the secret ingredient can only be harvested on Cardamom and Alexander222 will stop at nothing for the chance to be a local hero who saves his race from an energy crisis.
What follows is reminiscent of the politics and the fall-out of what we see with the oil industry, where an important resource is at the centre of global politics. My daughter struggled answering the question “What lessons did you learn from story?”, but what was interesting was that it opened up a discussion of important parallels between what happens in the book and what is occurring globally. There are some important debates currently taking place in Canada. One is the extraction of oil from the tar sands in Alberta and the other is the construction of a pipeline which would carry oil from Alberta, Canada to Nebraska in the U.S. The potential environmental, social, political, and economical impacts of these two plans are hotly contested with many Canadians being firmly opposed to these plans. But, clearly, I’ve digressed…
On a lighter note, if a copy of the Sticky Date and Chocolate Cake With Caramel Cardamom Sauce recipe does not magically appear in the comment section of this post (*ahem*), I may go mad!! There are so many mentions of yummy-sounding food that I must suggest that you don’t read this book on an empty stomach. You may end up salivating all over it. Nuff said!
My bottom line: I really enjoyed reading this interesting and unique book. This is one for kids and grown-ups alike as there is much to ponder as you read it. In fact, I can easily see this book as a screenplay and then on the big screen. I highly recommend this book to girls and boys aged 9+ who are looking for a different kind of fairy tale and who enjoy techie science fiction stories. Oh, and cake!
Grown-up Rating: ★★★★★
Grown-up Rating: ★★★★★
*** Escape From the Forbidden Planet was provided to us free-of-charge by the author in exchange for an honest review.***
About The Author:
Julie Anne Grasso has a background in paediatric nursing and has spent many years literally wrapping children in cotton wool. Every day she witnessed great courage and resilience from the tiny people she cared for, which inspired her to write stories about a little girl elf just like them.
She lives in Melbourne Australia with her husband Danny and their little elf Giselle.
Escape From The Forbidden Planet is book 1 in the Adventures of Caramel Series so stay tuned for book 2, Return to Cardamom which will be released in 2013.
Twitter: Julie Grasso
Facebook: Julie Anne Grasso Books
** Want to read excerpts from Escape From the Forbidden Planet and 13 OTHER MIDDLE GRADE BOOKS for FREE? ~ Download the Love Middle Grade actually Sampler from Amazon for FREE between February 7th and February 11th and enter to win a Kindle Fire and other great prizes. For more information, click HERE or on the image to the right.