readingtrance

book reviews by Althea

Lockstep – Karl Schroeder ***

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I’ve read (and loved) quite a few of Karl Schroeder’s books, but this was the first to be marketed as YA, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I found it better than I expected!

Toby McGonigal is a near-future teen, obsessed with playing simulation video games, a loving brother and son. His family are pioneers, among the first to leave the solar system and lay claim to a rogue planet. In order to cement the ownership claim, the family must physically visit all the bodies in the system – but on an expedition to a remote asteroid, something goes wrong – and Toby doesn’t come out of coldsleep until an unfathomable amount of time has passed – and the world has changed around him. Toby has left behind everything he ever knew – or has he? Either way, he’ll need to make new friends, and take a gamble on who to trust, if he is to survive.

Discovering the new future world – and its technicalities and politics – is a delight for the reader. The plot has all the charm and adventure of classic Andre Norton, but with snappy writing, and, most significantly, truly original, clever ideas. Although the plot will probably appeal most to teens, the social setup of Lockstep (and the exploration of the ramifications of the situation Schroeder creates) are enough to fascinate any hard sci-fi fan.

Copy provided by NetGalley and Tor/Forge Books. Thanks!

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