Space Rangers
by Sebastian Deras
BookVenture Publishing LLC

"'Nice try. But it’s going to take a lot more than that to kill me.' So Dan and Evan were fighting for their lives."

After a typically boring day at school, friends Evan and Dan split up and head their separate ways home, but soon Dan hears a mysterious noise coming from the playground. Going to investigate, Dan trips and falls into an open sewer, breaking his arm. He calls out to Evan for help, but while looking for Dan, Evan trips on the same tire, and he too falls into the sewer. After reuniting, they hide from an approaching noise, only to discover a helpful robot named Rob who heals the boys and then shows them an unending supply of fantastic machines and powerful spaceships. Together, the boys learn of a war between robots and dinosaurs, and Rob asks them if the two young boys would be interested in training and fighting alongside the new robot civilization that they’ve discovered beneath their neighborhood. The two thirteen-year-olds are hungry for adventure, and so they agree to train physically and with weapons that only the underground robots have access to.

Heading out on quest after quest, Evan and Dan are summoned by Rob to fight evildoers and villains in all shapes and sizes, from deadly doppelgangers to terrifying five-armed ghosts. Though the situations become more and more dangerous, Evan and Dan handle each one by applying the skills they learn in training and through trusting in each other. Before long, the true face of evil, Nagreith, starts to make himself known, swearing to get revenge against Evan and Dan for their victories over his minions.

Pulling inspiration from popular books, movies, video games, and just pure imagination, this debut novel from 10-year-old Deras is the kind of story that will get young readers pumped and ready for action. The references in this book tie together a lot of important elements of pop culture and modern lies without being explicit. Things come together naturally and are emulated rather than copied and pasted together in a mash-up of characters and scenes. Instead, the ideas and sense of adventure are what Deras captures and assembles for his readers in a story that provides nonstop thrills for its readers. Dan and Evan are average, everyday kids who like to read, play games, and get stressed out, but when duty calls, they rise to the challenge. Of course, that challenge presents itself in a number of different ways, keeping each chapter fresh and exciting as the dangers increase.

As a young author, it feels like Deras is writing these stories to be read by his peers so that his ideas and excitement can be shared, and in that regard, he executes. There’s a breathless exuberance to his writing style that fills the reader with anticipation and interest, whether young or old. Everything builds up to a climactic fight that, in turn, reveals more powerful forces at work than the boys are aware of. So, if readers enjoy this title, it appears that there will be plenty more adventures to come in the future. It’s always encouraging and refreshing to read a story by a young author who has a clear passion for telling tales, and while a story like this one is probably best delivered to readers in a similar age range, it does as good a job of entertaining readers of all ages as it does inspiring them to tell the stories that they’ve been developing in their own imaginations.

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