Review by Helen Ryan, Inis
(the Children's Books Ireland magazine)
- Spring 2007


  It is 2096.  Earth has just been issued with an Inter-Stellar Invitation to join the IGGY (InterGalactic Great Youth).  In time-honoured Wonka tradition, only five children will be selected.  And the odds are all stacked against unremarkable, mediocre Tommy Storm.

Once the true competition among the intergalactic kids begins, Tommy discovers he has some very remarkable talents.  As one of his new friends observes, 'On Earth you were a fish out of water, but Space is your ocean.'  He also discovers an old Earth enemy, now complete with intergalactic thuggish pals.  Five teams (why is it always five?) are rigorously schooled to compete in the quest to find the dream team of Iggy Knights who will carry out the mission.  Bonds of friendship and depths of animosity deepen; blatant cheating and downright unfairness seem to go unnoticed.  Tommy's team consistently shows loyalty and integrity, even at the risk of losing to liars and cheats.

AJ Healy takes his readers on a rollicking yet philosophical ride across the galaxy, sometimes glancing sidelong at an Earth disempowered by its inhabitants, often delighting us with space 'gadgetry' and always entertaining us with strong characters.  The plot is tight, the suspense tighter.

Humour (often adult) pulses through the book.  The favourite jazz band on Iggy is the Miles and Miles and Miles Davis Band.  Earth's apce agency is called Nations Undertaking Travel into Space - N.U.T.S.  Healy's imagination regularly runs riot.  On arrival in Iggy, Tommy's tongue is implanted with a talkie-max which converts most languages into his native tongue, English.  Time on Iggy is measured in tempusfugits.  Travel round this planet is negotiated via wigholes and whooshUlators and plungeUlators...

This book (the first in a series) is truly entertaining; funny, gripping, imaginative, full of suspense, strong characters and utter wackiness!  Suitable for 11+.

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"; echo "Thank you for helping us!"; } ?>(c) 2006  A.J. Healy