Friday, May 8, 2009

Beyond Corista

Title: Beyond Corista

Series: The Shadowside Trilogy #3

Author: Robert Elmer

Genre: Tween (10-14) Sci-fi/Allegory

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Beyond Corista:

“What’s going on?” Just after the impact, fifteen-year-old Oriannon Hightower of Nyssa pulled herself hand over hand out of the back room of the shuttle, making her way forward to where her friend Margus Leek had been thrown to the floor in the control room Eye-watering black smoke made her choke on her words and gasp for breath before a burst of chilling aragonite gas snuffed the fire out.

“Did we hit a mine?” she asked.

Their spacecraft shuddered and tipped to the side. Gravity stabilizers must have taken a hit.

“You mean, you don’t know?” came a low, mocking voice from the back of the control room. Huddled in the corner, a defiant Sola Minnik waved her arms for balance as an even larger explosion ripped through the underbelly of the craft and the overhead light flickered out. The darkness made no difference to a blind woman, however.

An elder’s daughter warns of a danger no one believes exists.

The Craft: Beyond Corista has many of the same characteristics of the previous two books, Trion Rising and The Owling: A fast-paced adventure with characters that can make you laugh and cry, written in clean, straightforward prose. All in all, I have only on complaint: the ending.

On one hand, there’s nothing wrong with the final chapter, and if this was a middle book, I wouldn’t have minded the end. But when the book is marked as the last one of a series, the ending must work overtime, tying together plots, wrapping up loose ends, and giving a sense of completeness.

Instead, I turned the last page fully expecting to see another chapter, only to find none. And that is all that would be needed—one chapter to satisfy some lingering questions about Oriannon and her friends and to resolve things to the understanding that this set of adventures were over. As it is, the climax happens and the book stops, leaving the reader no time to decompress from the story’s tensions.

I guess I only hope there will be a follow-up series, although there seem to be no current indications of such.

The Content: Unlike the end, the content of Beyond Corista does not disappoint. It has some wonderful themes, like doing what’s right even though no one else believes you, and it alludes to Paul’s journeys in an entertaining way without the allegory becoming heavy-handed.

There is some violence, but much of it occurs off the page and the few descriptions are kept simple.

Summary: Though the end is somewhat disappointing and unsatisfying, Beyond Corista still has much that’s commendable, making it clean enough for all ages to read and worthwhile for child and adult alike.

Rating: Craft—3, Content—4, Overall—3.8 out of 5 stars

See the reviews for Trion Rising and The Owling, or purchase the whole trilogy from Words of Whimsy.

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