Books : reviews

William Alexander.
Simon & Schuster. 2014

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 13 July 2019

Gabe Fuentes is reading under the covers one summer night when he is interrupted by a creature who looks like a purple sock puppet. The sock puppet introduces himself as the Envoy and asks if Gabe wants to be Earth’s ambassador to the galaxy. What sane eleven-year-old could refuse?

As Gabe’s “entangled” self is sent out into the galaxy, he finds that Earth is in the path of a destructive alien force—and Gabe himself is the target of an assassination plot. Exactly who wants him out of the way? And why?

As Gabe races to save himself—and his planet—from annihilation, he learns that his undocumented parents are in danger of being deported. Can he survive long enough to solve two sets of “alien” problems?

Gabe Fuentes is chosen to be the Ambassador for Earth to the various sentient species in the galaxy. This is somewhat surprising, as Gabe is only a young boy, but the galactic civilisation chooses the young to represent their planets. Gabe’s appointment is a bit of an emergency, as the Outlast are on their way to destroy the Earth, so he has to learn the job as he goes along. Coupled with that, his family are about to be deported from the US as illegal immigrants.

This is a sufficiently diverting “young adult has big SFnal problems mirroring problems at home”, with interesting aliens, and a mysterious back story, that I finished it quickly, and immediately ordered the sequel.

William Alexander.
Simon & Schuster. 2015

Gabe Fuentes, the Earth’s ambassador, isn’t on Earth. He’s headed out and away from both Earth and moon to stop the Outlast from conquering the galaxy. With him is Kaen, an alien ambassador who looks completely human—which is completely weird—and Nadia, who was the Earth’s ambassador long before Gabe … though she hasn’t aged since then. Space travel has strange effects.

Nadia left her post decades ago to learn more about the Outlast, and now she thinks she knows how to stop them from destroying civilization. But the three ambassadors might already be too late.

Gabe also has problems closer to home. He needs to find his father, who was deported to Mexico as a very different sort of alien. Could saving the world possibly be easier than saving his family?

William Alexander.
Goblin Secrets.
Margaret K. McElderry Books. 2012

The magic of masks might change the shape of Rownie’s whole world.

Rownie is the youngest of Graba the witch’s stray children. His older brother, Rowan, vanished after performing in a secret play, and Rownie feels lost without him. Acting is illegal in the city of Zombay. No one may wear a mask and pretend to be someone else. Only goblins may perform, for they are the Changed—neither human nor other, belonging nowhere.

Rownie meets a traveling troupe of goblins who promise to teach him the secrets of mask-craft and entice him with the hope of finding Rowan. As Rownie searches for his brother, he discovers the true power of masks. Are the goblins what they seem to be? What fateful magic lies hidden in the heart of Zombay?