Left Behind Book One: The Forbidden Voyage by R. Anne Polcastro

BEHIND
Left Behind Book One: The Forbidden Voyage by R. Anne Polcastro
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Length: Full Length (197 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

What would you do if everything you were taught about your home planet was a lie?
What would you do if you were Left Behind?

ENDIRION is a thirteen year old boy like any other. Except his skin is green and it glows. And he doesn’t have any hair on his head or anywhere else on his body. Oh and he lives in a cave underground. But so does everyone on the poisoned Mother Planet. There is little to eat and what they do have is as mutated as the people themselves. Fuel is scarce and technology exists only in history books.

Or so they are told.

When Endirion and his classmate Harlo are sentenced to hard labor at the Dump they see things that go against everything they have ever known about their planet. Determined to find out the truth the boys set off on a dangerous journey that pits them against angry marshals, mysterious animals, mutant humanoids, and lands them in the belly of a Monstruwhale. It is a harrowing quest that takes them down remote tunnels, across the Lake of Fire, into the Madlands and a whole new world.

Not every authority figure is trustworthy. Figuring out which ones can be trusted is a lot harder than it looks, but Endirion thinks he’s up to the task. Is he right?

There’s a difference between having a good idea and following through with it to its logical conclusion. I was intrigued by the premise of this book right away. It was gratifying to see how well the original concept held up as the plot progressed. Every twist added valuable information to what I’d learned in the blurb about this universe. More importantly, each one also made me more curious to see how it would all tie together in the end.

I would have liked to see more character development in this tale, especially when it came to Endirion. Given his insatiable curiosity and short temper, I was surprised to see how little he changed over the course of the plot. He experienced harrowing adventures and yet didn’t seem to learn anything from them. It was never clear to me why this was the case.

This was a highly detailed story. It took the time to explain everything from what mutated food tastes like to what it’s like to live in a damp, dusty cave. These passages were a lot of fun to read because they made it so easy to imagine what it would be like to live in this society. It isn’t somewhere I’d particularly like to visit, although I am curious to know what the deer jerky that Endiron despises actually tastes like!

I’d recommend Left Behind Book One: The Forbidden Voyage to anyone who has ever wondered what humans might be like in the distant future.

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