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Voyagers: Project Alpha (Book1) by D. J.…
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Voyagers: Project Alpha (Book1)

by D. J. MacHale

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I think we both persevered from pleasure in reading aloud together, more or less despite the story. We wanted it to be better than it was, yet weren't quite ready to give up on it. We started the second book (by a different author, and ostensibly better) but when the library eBook couldn't be renewed it was left without complaint.

Holes in plotting and circumstances: a special "flight cage" for a dog on a spaceship?! R kept noticing how quickly the novel moved through huge chunks of action, and identified how she'd write it differently. Good for that aspect, at least.

I do wonder how much this is representative of MacHale's writing, and how much as a hired gun he simply reflected what the publisher / editor demanded: set up the series, slot in your tale to another tale utterly outside your control (another author hired to write that one), tick off the various boxes on what is required of an opening book. I do not, however, wonder strongly enough to seek out another of MacHale's books and see for myself. ( )
  elenchus | Nov 28, 2016 |
This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

I've had my eye on this series for a while, ever since Patrick Carman (creator of the series) announced it on his website. How could I not be intrigued by a series that resembled the 39 Clues franchise in format, featured books written by some of my favorite authors (Patrick Carman, Wendy Mass, Jeanne DuPrau), and had a cool sci-fi premise to boot? So when I saw on Bloglovin that Ms. Yingling Reads was reviewing the second Voyagers book, I clicked over to see what she thought of it - and then, when the review included a giveaway by the publisher for the first two books in the series, I eagerly entered and crossed my fingers to win.

I think you can guess what happened: that's right, I won the giveaway! I am now the proud owner of Project Alpha, Game of Flames, a Voyagers phone case, and a little button to put on my iPhone's home button. I know, I'm so awesomely lucky. Don't begrudge it to me too much, though, I really needed these books. I found out I won the giveaway a few days before we closed on the new house in Indiana, and the package with my prize showed up a few days after we'd moved in. I was so worn out from unpacking and scrabbling to catch up with my missed schoolwork (not to mention emotionally exhausted from leaving my home of four years) that nothing was ever so wonderful to me as curling up in bed with the nice, shiny new books I'd been wanting to read for months.

Escapist pleasure aside, did I enjoy Project Alpha as much as I'd hoped I would? Why, yes indeed. While full of lots of tropes (the humanesque robot, crazy-realistic training simulations, and imminent threat of total power loss all ring particularly familiar), it handles them in a fun, compelling manner that drug me along every step of the way. Some of the characters also seemed slightly familiar (the overachieving bully and the genius, yet emotionally-suppressed girl both stuck out as old friends), but I didn't really mind very much - this is just that sort of book, you know? And I feel like the characters will develop away from their initial stereotypical roles as the series progresses. They will likely develop in still-predictable ways (who's betting the overachieving loner winds up realizing she needs the others' help?), but again - something about the way they're presented makes that okay, like I'm surrounded by old friends I've know in some form or other my entire life.

Honestly, my only real complaint with Project Alpha is that it was paced rather strangely. The first good chunk of the book is devoted to the almost Hunger Games-like competition between the eight contenders for the four spots on the ship, and then the last little bit (and I meant little - maybe the last fourth?) follows the team as they begin their travels, go to a planet, have an adventure, etc. It felt to me like the book should have ended with the announcement of the teams, and then the second book should have followed them as they began their journey and had their first adventure in space. The tone of the book shifted so completely from "intense interpersonal competition" to "Ah, attacking creature from a foreign planet!" that it kind of threw me off and made me wonder why the people behind the scenes decided this was the best way to tell the story.

Anyway, I've only read the first two books so far (keep an eye out for my review of Game of Flames!), so I don't know how the series will hold up by the sixth book, but so far it's been really great. It's the perfect mix of compelling characters, familiar tropes, and suspenseful plot, and I am just lapping it up. ( )
  Jaina_Rose | Mar 1, 2016 |
I won this book through Goodreads and agreed to give an honest review. All I can say is I'm going to enter for every YA I can and hope I get the next book! I may become a YA lover. Earth has almost exhausted its energy and the people around the globe are forced to endure no lights from dust to dawn. A global competition is underway to select four twelve year old kids to explore the far reaches of outer space to collect unique elements and face the unknown challenges as they would age more slowly than any adults. but the competition between the kids is fierce as they all want the ten million dollars to help their families and the pride of being chosen. Who will be the leader, who will pilot the complicated space ship, and who is the enemy? ( )
  Linda.Bass | Dec 6, 2015 |
A complete steal of Dr. June Scobee Rogers' 'Star Challengers' series but no less fun to read. The 'Star Challengers' series did a better job of avoiding glaring plot holes. Overall, well written for its audience if not taking into consideration the scientific implausibility. Biggest complaint is the premise of the story. Surely if science has reached a point to be able to create all the achievements this book has, it would have also found a viable alternative energy source!

Another glaring oversight is the 4 'alternates' who were sent home. 1) The world was watching and knew which 4 children were chosen and which were sent home - their families didn't wonder where they were? 2) the Project Alpha group stated they would keep in touch with the other 4 children - they never were? they never inquired why the children didn't make it home? Or what happened to their bus driver?
  rainslibrary | Dec 4, 2015 |
D.J. MacHale kicks off this new, exciting six-book series with Project Alpha. The story centers around a group of kids who are being tested to find the best of the best to lead a mission to save the world. This first books starts off with a bang and doesn't slow down.

From the very first page I was on the edge of my seat. This action-packed book is a great start to what promises to be a great series. The Earth is going dark. The power supply is running out. The only chance the human race has is to send four kids under eleven into space to retrieve an element on a distant planet that could restore power. (The age thing is explained in the book.)

So the kids are tested, and there are some crazy tests, to determine who will be on the final team. There are eight kids originally and only four can go. Each kid is there for a different reason. And some show no mercy to try to make the team. There's also a cool robot, STEAM, who aids them in their journey. But things are not always what they seem and there are some suspicious activities that cause a few of the participants alarm.

Project Alpha is a fast-paced novel. I really enjoyed reading it. Each book in the series will be written by a different author, and I look forward to seeing how they continue the series. Also, this book is kinda interactive. The publisher has a cool website (voyagershq.com) where you can take quizzes, customize your own commander, and much more. This is really cool. I played around a bit on the site, and I think kids will really like it. The next book, Game of Flames, should be out in November.

Read more at http://www.toreadornottoread.net/2015/09/review-voyagers-project-alpha-by-dj.htm... ( )
  mt256 | Oct 15, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385386583, Hardcover)

The action is on the page, on your device, and out of this world! This multiplatform series is part sci-fi, part eco-mystery, all action-adventure. And you don't have long to wait -- 6 books are coming all in one year! 

Earth is about to go dark. Without a new power source, life as we know it will be toast. A global competition is under way to determine who will join the secret mission that might just save us all. Project Alpha is a contest of physical challenges, mental puzzles, and political alliances. The battle is fierce, and only four kids will make the cut. The Voyagers will journey to the far reaches of space, collecting unique elements and facing unbelievable dangers. The future of our planet is in the hands of four kids. Sure, they’ll be the best in the world . . . but can they save the world?

Do you have what it takes to be a Voyager? Find out at VoyagersHQ.com.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 15 Jul 2015 13:50:44 -0400)

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