I don’t seem to get many sci-fi titles sent to me, which is surprising as children tend to love outer-space adventures with aliens and uncharted territory. Enter ‘Orion Lost’ – a new middle grade title by Alastair Chisholm.
Thirteen-year-old Beth and her family are onboard the colony ship Orion which is heading for Eos Five so that its passengers can start a new life in deepest, darkest space. Beth is excited, but does not like the sensation of zero gravity and is incredibly embarrassed when she’s the first person to produce zero gravity vomit.
The party is four months away from Earth when disaster strikes. The ship is badly damaged, all the adults on board are incapacitated and there’s the menacing alien species – the Videshi – to look out for, not to mention the roaming ‘scraper’ crews on the hunt for ships to board and ransack.
It’s up to Beth and her friends to try to repair the ship and steer it back to some sort of safety so the rest of its occupants can be ‘rebooted.’ But to do this, Beth’s leadership skills will be severely tested. Will she be able to get her crew to pull together and fix the faulty systems and parts? Will entitled captain’s son Vihaan accept her commands? And is the ship’s AI system trying to work against her?
Wow! What a read. Once I’d started, it was absolutely unputdownable! I was well and truly gripped by the twists and turns in the story. Rooting for Beth and her team but at the same time trying to work out who might be about to betray them. Marvelling at the tech, whilst mistrusting it.
A claustrophobic, tightly-written sci-fi thriller with echoes of Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey. I shall absolutely be recommending this to older KS2 readers (whilst being mindful that there are a copy of minor swears some parents might want flagging.)
Note – if you enjoy a playlist to add atmosphere to your reading, Alastair Chisholm has a specially compiled ‘Orion List’ playlist on Spotify.
*Many thanks to Nosy Crow for sending me this title to review*