Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Review - I Left My Sneakers in Dimension X by Bruce Coville
Short review: Rod thought his troubles were over when he helped capture BKR. Smorkus Flinders shows he was wrong by capturing him and taking him to Dimension X as bait for the crew of the Ferkel.
Elspeth gets taken
Snorkus Flinders is giant
Rod lost his sneakers
Full review: I Left My Sneakers in Dimension X continues the junior space opera series bridging the events between Aliens Ate My Homework (read review) and The Search for Snout (read review). Following the events in Aliens Ate My Homework, Rod Albright thinks his life will get back to normal, with the only calamity being the introduction of his annoying cousin Elspeth to the family household to ruin his summer. This assumption is, of course, horribly mistaken as he (and Elspeth) are abducted by the mammoth sized Smorkus Flinders and transported as prisoners to Dimension X.
Once in Dimension X, the two are held as bait, as Smorkus (who apparently rules the dimension) wants to lure the crew of the Ferkel to a trap and exact revenge upon them. Smorkus is, apparently a friend of BKR's and Smorkus also seems to have a specific dislike for Grakker. While imprisoned, Rod and Elspeth narrowly avoid being eaten by Smorkus Flinders' slightly less enormous lackey Spar Kellis (who explains that in Dimension X, creatures are accorded authority based upon their size).
In short order the Ferkel arrives to rescue Rod and Elspeth, but is damaged by Smorkus in the process, requiring the crew to abandon ship. Stranded, without a ship in the hostile Dimension X, the crew of the Ferkel tries to search for allies, first having the mental master Snout try to telepathically search for them, an attempt that goes awry causing Snout to vanish (setting up the plot of book three in the series: The Search for Snout). The crew eventually discovers a shape-shifting creature named Galuspa who leads Rod and the rest of the crew to the resistance movement opposed to Smorkus (along the way, Rod stumbles across, and bonds with a creature called a chibling).
While waiting to meet with Ting Wongovia, the leader of the resistance, Tar Gibbons, the Ferkel's master of warrior science, offers to take Rod on as his apprentice, or krevlik, an offer that Rod eventually accepts. This element, along with the other parts of self-discovery and improvement, form the core of the book. The alien adventure is fun, but the meat of the story is Rod growing from an unsure, clumsy child into a more confident, self-assured young adult. Once the crew meets with Ting Wongovia, the only way to convince him that the crew is actually against Smorkus Flinders is for Rod to undergo a somewhat dangerous mental melding with Ting, which he accepts. Along the way, the crew discovers another surprising ally. Later, when Tar is unable to fight Smorkus (after being enlarged by the size changing ray used by the crew to grow and shrink themselves and their ship), it falls to Rod, as his krevlik to take up the fight, and once again, with his newfound confidence and training, Rod rises to the challenge.
Eventually, Rod learns information about the whereabouts of both his father and Snout, setting up the next book in the series. He also loses his sneakers, fulfilling the title of the book. I Left My Sneakers in Dimension X manages to be silly, fun space opera, while also including some nice (and subtle) messages about growing up that are typical of Coville's best books. While the story suffers somewhat due to having a fair amount of the action serve to do little more than set up the next book, there is enough fast-paced action to keep any young reader entertained as Rod navigates his way through the alien and bizarre situations he is confronted with.
Previous book in the series: Aliens Ate My Homework
Subsequent book in the series: The Search for Snout
Bruce Coville Book Reviews A-Z Home