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The Oceans Between Stars

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It is Earth year 2223, but the Earth, along with the entire solar system, is gone. Liam and Phoebe, having barely escaped our exploding sun with their lives, are in stasis for the decade-long journey to the rogue planet Delphi, where they hope to meet up with the rest of the human refugees, find help for their injured parents, and pass along the devastating things they disc It is Earth year 2223, but the Earth, along with the entire solar system, is gone. Liam and Phoebe, having barely escaped our exploding sun with their lives, are in stasis for the decade-long journey to the rogue planet Delphi, where they hope to meet up with the rest of the human refugees, find help for their injured parents, and pass along the devastating things they discovered on Mars: that someone destroyed their world intentionally, and that that someone might still be after them, trying to finish the job. Phoebe is carrying her own dark secret. One that finds her waking up secretly at various points in their journey, changing their path through space. One that will decide the fate of the human race, and many more besides. One that, very soon, she must reveal to Liam, whether he’s ready for the truth or not.


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It is Earth year 2223, but the Earth, along with the entire solar system, is gone. Liam and Phoebe, having barely escaped our exploding sun with their lives, are in stasis for the decade-long journey to the rogue planet Delphi, where they hope to meet up with the rest of the human refugees, find help for their injured parents, and pass along the devastating things they disc It is Earth year 2223, but the Earth, along with the entire solar system, is gone. Liam and Phoebe, having barely escaped our exploding sun with their lives, are in stasis for the decade-long journey to the rogue planet Delphi, where they hope to meet up with the rest of the human refugees, find help for their injured parents, and pass along the devastating things they discovered on Mars: that someone destroyed their world intentionally, and that that someone might still be after them, trying to finish the job. Phoebe is carrying her own dark secret. One that finds her waking up secretly at various points in their journey, changing their path through space. One that will decide the fate of the human race, and many more besides. One that, very soon, she must reveal to Liam, whether he’s ready for the truth or not.

30 review for The Oceans Between Stars

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmed Ejaz

    "Trust is a powerful adaptation of three-dimensional beings...It’s your engine for still making a choice when you don’t have all possible information." It was so good to be back to this space adventure. It was perfect. I enjoyed it way more than I expected. In the first book, the excitement level was increasing gradually, like one or two steps at a time. But here, it went to peak point from the very beginning. I was so absorbed in this world. But yeah, it took me a good time to finish "Trust is a powerful adaptation of three-dimensional beings...It’s your engine for still making a choice when you don’t have all possible information." It was so good to be back to this space adventure. It was perfect. I enjoyed it way more than I expected. In the first book, the excitement level was increasing gradually, like one or two steps at a time. But here, it went to peak point from the very beginning. I was so absorbed in this world. But yeah, it took me a good time to finish, because I got involved in 3 to 4 buddy-reads or a TV-series I'm watching these days. But that's okay. I enjoyed it and that's what matters. CHARACTERS Liam & Phoebe are major ones. Their friendship is so great. Like their trust on each other is incredible. I loved it. JEFF, hah, that's my robo-panda! Soo cute. "We’re a team. Best in the galaxy." PLOT After our Solar System has been wiped out from our universe, Humanity, via starliners, are going to another home planet. As Liam, Phoebe and JEFF have lost them on Mars, they are trying to catch them via their cruiser piloted by JEFF. Their parents get injured on Mars, so they are also with them in statis pods, sleeping all the way. Eventually, the team get to know that someone is exploding stars on purpose by speeding up their supernova process. That's not a very good thing for the universe. --The book has a lot of time travel. It sometimes get little complex to get along by just reading once. They time travelled via an alien watch they found on Mars.(view spoiler)[ But eventually Liam got so used to it that he began to experience it without even wearing it. It was a great thing to see here. But it also felt little weird that how this book played with time like a toy. Anyway, I liked it. (hide spoiler)] --Their arrival on Delphi was amazing. I loved the scenes written on that place. --We also got to see Centauri System too. It's like our Solar System but has two stars, Centauri A and Centauri B. You know this system exist in reality too. Centauri A is the closest star from our Solar System, 4 light years away I guess. (view spoiler)[Centauri A is also gonna explode!!! That was such a heart-racing fact for me. That confirmed the suspicion of someone is really speeding up the supernova process of stars. I was just freaked out! (hide spoiler)] --(view spoiler)[So it turned out Phoebe wasn't human but an alien race named Talphons and the humanity was going to a planet which was actually her home planet which humans had destroyed while phase 1 proceedings to make it ready for humanity's arrival. Woah! That was not expected. But that was an interesting twist. And sad also, for Phoebe you know. I loved that understood her people would have done the same if they were at the edge of extinction. But still it wasn't a good thing to wipe out an entire. Phoebe helped Liam to stop her people. (hide spoiler)] --(view spoiler)[ Liam began to experience multiple realities as the side effects of using that watch. Wow! That's interesting but confusing at times too. I liked it. But some may not. (hide spoiler)] --(view spoiler)[So we also got warmholes here. They aren't mentioned by name but the concept of mysterious black doorways is just the same. (hide spoiler)] --Probably the only thing I didn't like is the name of series. It's the Chronicles of Dark Star. And the name Dark Star appears barely 2 to 3 times. We don't know the D of Dark Star right now and the next book is the finale. Don't know why, it feels so soon. :( Let's hope for the good. --(view spoiler)[ Probably the best scene in the whole book is where Phoebe jumped out of her spaceship without any space suit and Liam caught her. They both risked their lives to each other again. It was a lengthy scene and I so much loved it. I was literally out of breath while this scene. (hide spoiler)] To sum up, this is the best book I read this year so far. (^__^) But give this series a go if you like space-travel, time travel, concept of multiple realities and dimensions etc.. ☆☆☆5 Stars☆☆☆ 6 October, 2018!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens

    They've left Mars, but they took the drama with them. Outstanding sequel that leaves you eager for the third installment. They've left Mars, but they took the drama with them. Outstanding sequel that leaves you eager for the third installment.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Angela Blount

    Originally reviewed for YA Books Central: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yaficti... A trust and friendship-centric second installment in this middle-grade sci-fi series, The Oceans Between Stars is fast-paced follow-up to The Last Day On Mars. Once again, the book opens with an exposition meant to explain alien things and ideas with manageable human analogies—using a touch of matter-of-fact wit and irony (vaguely Douglass Adams styled, san silliness.) Just as with the vast majority of the first boo Originally reviewed for YA Books Central: http://www.yabookscentral.com/yaficti... A trust and friendship-centric second installment in this middle-grade sci-fi series, The Oceans Between Stars is fast-paced follow-up to The Last Day On Mars. Once again, the book opens with an exposition meant to explain alien things and ideas with manageable human analogies—using a touch of matter-of-fact wit and irony (vaguely Douglass Adams styled, san silliness.) Just as with the vast majority of the first book, the parents are out of the picture. Still badly injured and kept in suspended animation for the long journey to their hopeful new home. It’s up to Liam, Phoebe, and their trusty panda-shaped android, JEFF, to ensure they actually make it to their destination. A number of information tidbits come together in this book to form some fairly big reveals, so that was rewarding to see. All these details turned out to be well-threaded ahead of time, so there isn’t the sense that any of it was forced. Those hoping for clarity on Phoebe’s origins will not be disappointed. And while some of the revelations provoke obvious philosophical quandaries, there isn’t too much time spent watching 13-year-olds attempt to soapbox over them. The primary focus is ‘run, outwit, survive,’ and while the overarching plot has grown in complexity, it never gets too far from that rooting. On the downside, the splitting off of multiple realities, while a useful plot device in some cases, can become a bit confusing at times. Especially as Liam begins inexplicably stepping outside of his own timeline and dimensional limitations. (The first book only involved time travel… er… maybe time-voyering is the more accurate term? So, I’d expect some readers may not love the complications brought on by the addition of multiverse concepts.) Bottom line: It isn’t quite as easy to follow as the first book in the series. On the upside, the slow and drawn-out portions of the first book (particularly toward the beginning half) don’t pull an encore in this book. While there is still some scene drag here and there, there is notably less dwelling on the mundane details of spacefaring/colony life. It also stays fairly consistent to the previously established respect for realistic tech and physics seen in book #1. Though this book doesn’t stand alone nearly as well as its predecessor, it does answer a number of pressing questions generated by the first book. It also ends on a note sure to propel readers on to the next installment.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nova Syzygy

    I read this book over a year ago, so I can't say much about the plot. I also finished reading the third book yesterday. But this isn't a review on book three. I already have one on the topic. So, even though I can't say much about the story, I will say this: this book got me interested in the multiverse theory. I want to see parallel universes. Please give me one. Please. PLEASE. Also, this cover is my favorite cover ever. Whoever designed the cover did a great job. I read this book over a year ago, so I can't say much about the plot. I also finished reading the third book yesterday. But this isn't a review on book three. I already have one on the topic. So, even though I can't say much about the story, I will say this: this book got me interested in the multiverse theory. I want to see parallel universes. Please give me one. Please. PLEASE. Also, this cover is my favorite cover ever. Whoever designed the cover did a great job.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Liz Overberg

    Middle grade sci fi, second in a series. This sequel is even more sciencey than the first book, with lots of complex time travel. Fun, fast-paced, and funny, but a little hard to follow. Very well written. Positive messages about friendship and working through differences.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shaye Miller

    I became enthralled with Emerson's Chronicle of the Dark Star series, last year. It's wonderful to see a science fiction series that doesn't dumb down the terminology for middle graders. Additionally, the story is intricate woven, but feels fast-paced. I'm very pleased to learn that my 13 year old son now wants to read it. YAY! Quick rehash from book number one, Last Day on Mars: The story starts in year 2213 and we learn that Earth is gone and all remaining humans fled to Mars. Liam's and Phoeb I became enthralled with Emerson's Chronicle of the Dark Star series, last year. It's wonderful to see a science fiction series that doesn't dumb down the terminology for middle graders. Additionally, the story is intricate woven, but feels fast-paced. I'm very pleased to learn that my 13 year old son now wants to read it. YAY! Quick rehash from book number one, Last Day on Mars: The story starts in year 2213 and we learn that Earth is gone and all remaining humans fled to Mars. Liam's and Phoebe's parents are part of the scientific team who discovered a new solar system to terraform that will sustain humans long-term, so they prepare to make the lengthy journey. In the meantime, the two main characters discover proof of another intelligent being just before the sun dies. And now it appears that their sun might not have died on its own--perhaps there were other forces at work. We are left on a cliffhanger where The Oceans Between Stars picks up. Aaaaaaand the second book did NOT disappoint! I don't want to spoil anything for those who will soon dive into this series, so... Liam is attempting to reconnect with his little sister, who left Mars before he did. He continues to experiment with a special watch he found and learns there are multiple outcomes to his future, depending on what he chooses. We learn a lot more about Phoebe's family, as well, and the theme of this book revolves a great deal around human behavior and the power of trust. These are a few of the quotes I bookmarked from book #2: "Trust is a power adaptation of three-dimensional beings. The hope or belief in something. It's your engine for still making a choice when you don't have all possible information." "If there's anything I learned in all those history lessons I had to sit through on Mars, it's that [the human] species doesn't have the best track record when somebody else is living on the land that [they] want." "One of the unfortunate things about a life lived in only three dimensions is that you do not know how or when you are going to die. You'd be surprised how much easier things are, knowing how long you have and what part you play." There's such depth to the relationships in this series. These books need to be in both middle grade and upper teen collections. I plan to squeeze in book #3 just as soon as possible!! For more children's literature, middle grade literature, and YA literature reviews, feel free to visit my personal blog at The Miller Memo!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Plus After Last Day on Mars, Liam and Phoebe managed to escape the destruction of their adopted planet when the sun went supernova, and they are on a space ship in stasis waiting to get to another destination. When they wake up, their parents are still asleep, and have been injured. Liam fears that his sister didn't make the shuttle in time, and fears that she is dead. With the help of JEFF, a droid in the shape of a panda, they manage to figure out what is going on. Liam sti E ARC from Edelweiss Plus After Last Day on Mars, Liam and Phoebe managed to escape the destruction of their adopted planet when the sun went supernova, and they are on a space ship in stasis waiting to get to another destination. When they wake up, their parents are still asleep, and have been injured. Liam fears that his sister didn't make the shuttle in time, and fears that she is dead. With the help of JEFF, a droid in the shape of a panda, they manage to figure out what is going on. Liam still has the watch that he found on Mars, and takes comfort in being able to go back and watch scenes from his life before things all went wrong. Eventually, he meets the original owner of the "watch", a chronologist from the future who warns him that the watch is not meant to be used by him, and may be causing space/time anomalies. When the two come across the wreckage of the Scorpius, which is supposed to be intact. Phoebe has many secrets that she is hiding, but decides to tell Liam about them, since the two have become close. These secrets change many things about what Liam needs to do, and he resorts to using the watch to explore different realities in the multiverse in hopes of putting everything to right. Strengths: There are a lot of VERY interesting twists in this that I didn't see coming even though I should have! There are several asides that all come together, so I don't want to give anything away. The terraforming of Mars, the plans for sending out colonies on ships when the sun is in danger of exploding, and the machinations of the scientists are all well depicted and fascinating. This is different from the first book (Which was a 2017 Cybils finalist) but still really intriguing. Even with all of the action, the relationship between Liam and Phoebe is multilayered and very interesting. This employs the idea of multiple realities that Bishara's Relativity, Edge's The Many Worlds of Albie Bright and Lawrence's A Crack in the Line explored. Interesting to read about, but hard to really believe! Emerson has written so many different things, but science fiction may be what he does best. Weaknesses: Lots of characters, and lots of brain melting multiple realities. Made my brain hurt a bit, but in a good way. The cover is a bit murky and should show way more action! What I really think: Definitely must purchase this one as soon as possible as well!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amita

    honestly kinda speechless. I remember when I reviewed Last Day on Mars I ended by saying I had a lot of theories about where this series could go. And then this book kicked me in the face and called me an idiot. My expectations here were surpassed. There wasn't any of the filler content that I felt dragged the first book down. The characters were real and they were GREAT and I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. (I feel like I say this for every book I like but then again that's probably why I like them.) Other t honestly kinda speechless. I remember when I reviewed Last Day on Mars I ended by saying I had a lot of theories about where this series could go. And then this book kicked me in the face and called me an idiot. My expectations here were surpassed. There wasn't any of the filler content that I felt dragged the first book down. The characters were real and they were GREAT and I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. (I feel like I say this for every book I like but then again that's probably why I like them.) Other than the truth about Aaru, I didn't see any of this coming so basically every page I reached a new level of being shook. I mean, the long time it took me to read this book does not correctly portray how much of a page-turner it was. Every minute of free time I could get, I was reading this, wanting to know what happened next. One of the very major reasons I loved this installment was because for a middle book in a trilogy, it doesn't follow the pattern. For many series there isn't enough content for a middle book and it ends up being really boring. Or even when the middle book is good, we get a good amount of answers for the questions we had in book 1; not all of them, but enough. This book is the only one since the 2nd book of York that chooses to barely answer any questions to save for a dramatic finale (hopefully). And just like in York, it works very well. In conclusion: The stakes? Very high. Me? Wondering "what is actually happening right now oh my god." The ending? A cliffhanger but also a good stopping point. The finale? Almost here. Am I ready? Of course. Yeah I definitely recommend this series

  9. 4 out of 5

    James McLaughlin

    I think a theme for this book is that you should always take the safe route, not the fastest. Multiple times in this book the characters take the fastest route and almost die. Then they take the slow/safe route and they end up being faster than the 'fast' route. I think a theme for this book is that you should always take the safe route, not the fastest. Multiple times in this book the characters take the fastest route and almost die. Then they take the slow/safe route and they end up being faster than the 'fast' route.

  10. 4 out of 5

    David Quijano

    The Oceans Between Stars is the second book in the Chronicle of the Dark Star series. The first half of this book was incredibly boring. The impression I got was that this was a two book series that got dragged into a trilogy for financial reasons. The second half of the book was thrilling, and by the end I couldn't wait for the third book. The Oceans Between Stars was very similar to the previous book. The originality of the story continued to be the strong point in this series. So much so, tha The Oceans Between Stars is the second book in the Chronicle of the Dark Star series. The first half of this book was incredibly boring. The impression I got was that this was a two book series that got dragged into a trilogy for financial reasons. The second half of the book was thrilling, and by the end I couldn't wait for the third book. The Oceans Between Stars was very similar to the previous book. The originality of the story continued to be the strong point in this series. So much so, that I wouldn't want to provide any spoilers. The weak point continues to be the characters, who are average, relatively uninteresting kids. I really like these books, and I think Amazon, Netflix, or HBO could turn this into an incredible TV series. I give this book four stars. The biggest negatives are for the slow pace in the first half of the book, and the bland, kid characters. Still, this is a great read. I would not call it YA. It is definitely more middle grade. I would recommend it to anyone interested in children's sci-fi.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lorie Barber

    The second book in the Dark Star series does not disappoint!! Liam and Phoebe’s adventures continue as they try to get their parents back with the rest of humanity as it travels through space toward their new home. Many of my questions got answered in this one, yet I asked so many more and am now biting my nails waiting for book three. Especially after reading THE LAST PAGE!!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    This sequel begins the task of answering some of the questions that haunted readers of Last Day on Mars. It also opened up some new questions as well. My students and I agree on a few things about this series: we didn't want to stop reading it, we love the changing relationship between Phoebe and Liam, and how both are trying to figure out what the heck is going on, and what they need to do next to stay alive. I love how this series does not dumb anything down for its readers and keeps a complex This sequel begins the task of answering some of the questions that haunted readers of Last Day on Mars. It also opened up some new questions as well. My students and I agree on a few things about this series: we didn't want to stop reading it, we love the changing relationship between Phoebe and Liam, and how both are trying to figure out what the heck is going on, and what they need to do next to stay alive. I love how this series does not dumb anything down for its readers and keeps a complex plot accessible. This was on my Must Read in 2018 list, and the conclusion told me another key fact, I have a title for my Must Read in 2019 list, and it is the third book of this series.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Pop Bop

    This Sequel Is Even Better than the First Book This is the sequel to "Last Day on Mars" and is part of the continuing series "Chronicle of the Dark Star. I don't know what's planned, but it feels like it will take at least two or three more books to wrap up the whole series. You could start the series with this book, but that would be an unnecessary challenge. If you are patient and are willing to piece things together you could probably figure out how this all starts. But, it would be a lot easi This Sequel Is Even Better than the First Book This is the sequel to "Last Day on Mars" and is part of the continuing series "Chronicle of the Dark Star. I don't know what's planned, but it feels like it will take at least two or three more books to wrap up the whole series. You could start the series with this book, but that would be an unnecessary challenge. If you are patient and are willing to piece things together you could probably figure out how this all starts. But, it would be a lot easier and a lot more rewarding to just start with "Last Day on Mars", which is a fine book on its own, anyway. But, this sequel is way better. The first book, in retrospect, seems fairly standard. Earth is already burned up, everyone's holed up on Mars, and the big deal is that everyone is escaping Mars before the Sun goes nova. So, it starts as a Mars colony tale, then a humanity in space/colonization tale. Our two heroes, Liam and Phoebe, get left behind and they and the AI JEFF have to catch up with the fleeing fleet. In addition to all sorts of space acrobatics, there are lots of hints about sabotage, other dangerous alien civilizations, hidden conspiracies, and the like to keep the pot boiling. But things really speed up and take off in this book two. I'm not a fan of time travel and not really thrilled by parallel universe stuff, but that's the heart of this book and by gosh the author makes it work. Bottom line, Liam and Phoebe are still trying to fight off or avoid bad guys, they're still trying to catch up with the Earth fleet, and they're still trying to figure out who those guys are who are randomly blowing up suns, (like our sun). (Is it something personal or just the side effect of something else?) Anyway, MILD SPOILERS, it turns out that with the help of a gizmo Liam found on Mars Liam can travel back and forth through time and can switch from one time line to other parallel time/event lines. The secret to this being readable is - 1) there's not too much of it, 2) we don't get bogged down in paradox baloney, 3) a wry and deadpan funny chronologist keeps joining Liam to explain what is/did/was/will/will have/ has been happening. Liam asks the chronologist exactly the questions the reader would ask, and the chronologist gives straight answers that sound both plausible and scientifically sound, in a quantum space/time sort of way. Amazingly, this makes the time travel and multiverse stuff both entertaining and very effective for plotting and action purposes. So, I admit I expected this to be mostly space action, asteroid dodging, friendship bonding, space opera, (which is fine). It turned out to be more engaging, more sophisticated, more rewarding, better crafted, more gripping, and more satisfying than I could ever have hoped for. There are even interesting twists and turns in the Liam/Phoebe story that kept that angle fresh and intriguing. So, a very nice find and one of the few sequels that outdoes its predecessor. (Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    Love this space adventure!! Will be waiting impatiently for book 3!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michele Knott

    Fantastic sequel. Questions are answered, yet many more pop up. More science explanations/discoveries in this one, but even when it got tough to completely understand, I could figure it out enough - I would tell readers who might not think science fiction is a genre they enjoy, there is so much action, adventure and suspense that makes it worth it! What a ride! Can not wait for book 3!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Camille

    I don't read as much middle grade as I used to, but this was phenomenal. Book one really left me wanting more and this one continued the trend. Such a great series for tween and young teens! I don't read as much middle grade as I used to, but this was phenomenal. Book one really left me wanting more and this one continued the trend. Such a great series for tween and young teens!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ilana

    This story keeps taking us on interesting twists and turns, showing us beings that we never knew existed but assumed were out there, links between names, times and planets etc. and each time we think that Liam and Phoebe are safe, BOOM something happens. When we left off at the end of the first book, we were on the path to getting out of the way of the supernova, and plotting a course that would get these two to meet up with the starliner when they docked at the next waystation. Phoebe of course This story keeps taking us on interesting twists and turns, showing us beings that we never knew existed but assumed were out there, links between names, times and planets etc. and each time we think that Liam and Phoebe are safe, BOOM something happens. When we left off at the end of the first book, we were on the path to getting out of the way of the supernova, and plotting a course that would get these two to meet up with the starliner when they docked at the next waystation. Phoebe of course has her own plans and we don’t even truly know the motivation, even after we learned her secret that was teased at the cliff hanger from book 1. The overarching trend that we see in this installment is of time jumping, making choices without knowing the outcome, trust and hope. They are faced each chapter with one of these and the outcome of each decision will have major impacts to the rest of the story. We learn that the chronologist is truly on the side of humanity, and she shows up at key moments to save Liam and Phoebe when hope seems lost. While she lives in 4 dimensions whereas we are in three, she doesn’t have all the information and the interesting aspect is that she’s ok with that, and with the knowledge that she has and seems to have no fear. (most humans would NOT be like that) We spend much of the story trying to determine if Phoebe is trustworthy. Once we learn that she’s not ‘human’ and that she knows the people who are chasing/attacking them and the starliners, we have to question every thought, word and action that she does to see if there’s some twisted and evil motive/motivation. JEFF, the bot that has been keeping them alive is truly skeptical, especially once he realizes that she’s the cause to their delays and that makes this story even more complex. Add to that, we still don’t know why the Drove are infecting the stars so that they go supernova faster than ever before and what their end game is. The Drove mention the need to go back to the Dark Star, and that’s an interesting reference that we get at the end of this book – from people that we don’t expect to reference it at all! There are little easter eggs that are dropped throughout this story. we are reminded that the first Starliner that was built (Artemis) was lost thirty years ago, yet by going through some type of time warp, Liam and Phoebe find it. We also learn that Aaru-5, the planet that the humans are going to colonize is Telos, the same planet that Phoebe is from, and the Rain of Ana was part of something bigger and far worse. So…All in all we’ve gotten so many answers to questions that came up from the first book but then there are even more that are raised as we go into the final book of the trilogy. We still have no idea if families will be reunited, if Phoebe is on the same side as Liam or her ‘people’. If there’s even a planet to get to when this is all said and done, and when everyone will die (since it seems like the chronologist knows exactly when this will happen).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emily M

    Prereading this series for my kids. There's nothing wrong per se, but like the first one, I felt a bit meh about things, and it took several attempts to get myself into the story. Pretty much all the action takes place out in space, and it's more about reacting to attacks than getting into the fun nitty gritty of space exploration. Sci fi often likes to act as a metaphor for colonization and displacement of people on earth, and that's certainly a big part of this book. Since the kids and I are d Prereading this series for my kids. There's nothing wrong per se, but like the first one, I felt a bit meh about things, and it took several attempts to get myself into the story. Pretty much all the action takes place out in space, and it's more about reacting to attacks than getting into the fun nitty gritty of space exploration. Sci fi often likes to act as a metaphor for colonization and displacement of people on earth, and that's certainly a big part of this book. Since the kids and I are doing ancient history this year, we're learning about how the Romans conquered the Greeks who conquered the Persians who conquered the Babylonians who conquered the Assyrians who conquered the Sumerians etc. This week, while reading about Caesar conquering Britain, one of the kids asked, "who are the good guys?" It's a complicated question, right? Since my kids are 1/4 Italian, maybe they should be rooting for Caesar, but since they're 1/3 British and Irish, maybe they should be rooting for the Celts. They speak English, which is a mesh of all the languages of the people who overran Britain at various times, so should we as Anglophiles be grateful for them or resent them for their contributions to our shared English speaking culture? Do we embrace Darwinist survival of the fittest as an excuse for bettering ourselves at the expense of the weaker, or do we hold sentient beings or specifically humanity to a different standard? Are there absolute moral standards, like that killing innocent people is always wrong, and why do we trust one belief system over another? So good, well-conceived sci fi can get you drawing connections and tackling these kinds of big questions in a productive way. But run-of-the-mill sci fi can sort of throw out a bunch of issues and leave it at that. At this point, our protagonists have had some tough ethical decisions to make, but I don't really have a sense that there's anything foundational influencing their choices. I'm not opposed to my kids reading this series so far, but I am finding it a bit underwhelming. I wouldn't care if it were just space adventures, but since the author is trying to be philosophical, I hold it to a different standard.

  19. 5 out of 5

    LeeAnne

    “One unknown at a time.” Liam’s mom’s words echo in his head as he tries to save his parents, his friend, himself, and all of humanity. Phoebe and Liam have been traveling toward Delphi in stasis for years, hopefully arriving in time to catch the Scorpius and board with the rest of humanity, arriving safely to their new planet. What he doesn’t know is that while he’s been in stasis, Phoebe has been awake carefully manipulating their path so that they arrive late to Delphi. This starts her on a pa “One unknown at a time.” Liam’s mom’s words echo in his head as he tries to save his parents, his friend, himself, and all of humanity. Phoebe and Liam have been traveling toward Delphi in stasis for years, hopefully arriving in time to catch the Scorpius and board with the rest of humanity, arriving safely to their new planet. What he doesn’t know is that while he’s been in stasis, Phoebe has been awake carefully manipulating their path so that they arrive late to Delphi. This starts her on a path of deception and betrayal, a path that she is not certain she wanted to be on in the first place. “Trust is a powerful adaptation of three-dimensional beings. The hope or belief in something. It’s your engine for still making a choice when you don’t have all the possible information.” Receiving conflicting advice from two unexpected beings, one being his bot, JEFF, Liam has to make the decision to continue to work with Phoebe on their original mission or abandon her altogether. Should he follow his visions or follow his logic? Should he save himself, his family, the attackers, all of humanity? It is all up to him and which choices he makes. “We prefer what happens to what could have happened.” Echoes of friendship, loyalty, trust, choices, and bravery ring out through this heart-stopping sequel in a wonderful middle-grade science fiction series. Kevin Emerson’s science (teaching!!) background plays a wonderful part in building the world for Phoebe and Liam. Several of my students “stole” this book from me when we finished Last Day on Mars, and kept me from reading it right away. They reported back with great reviews, and I agree with them - it is exciting. My favorite character, by the way, might be JEFF. “ ‘JEFF, be careful!’ JEFF reached the deck and looked back. ‘Thank you, Captain Liam. I will follow all safety protocols.’ ” And now, that is my new catchphrase.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Becky B

    Liam and Phoebe are on their way from Mars to Aaru-5, the new home of humans. Their injured parents are in stasis and they're chasing down the ship they were supposed to be on transporting the rest of Liam's family and both of their friends. However, one of them is harboring a secret with major ramifications, someone is out to destroy the human fleet ahead of them, and the group destroying stars on purpose is still out there. Also, the watch they've been using to see the future has started doing Liam and Phoebe are on their way from Mars to Aaru-5, the new home of humans. Their injured parents are in stasis and they're chasing down the ship they were supposed to be on transporting the rest of Liam's family and both of their friends. However, one of them is harboring a secret with major ramifications, someone is out to destroy the human fleet ahead of them, and the group destroying stars on purpose is still out there. Also, the watch they've been using to see the future has started doing strange things to both of them. Can they safely reunite with the rest of humanity and are they even still sane? The first book in this series was seriously high octane and loaded with action. This one is more psychological suspense dealing with a deep cover spy, multiple alien species on the brink of war, some weird timey-wimey stuff going on with the watch, and facing the very real prospect of being all alone in deep space. There are still some good action scenes interspersed in here. And I like the depth that the multiple plot lines explored in this book add to the overall story. I can totally see the time and space stuff in here totally frying some readers' minds. (I can also see Dr. Who showing up at any minute.) Phoebe and Liam have some very hard decisions and situations to work through in this one. It's a great read to explore deeper issues like whether or not to go to war, what is forgivable, if one death is worth saving millions, etc. in engaging ways. I'll be eager to find out how this series concludes, and I know several readers who will be too. Highly recommended to upper middle grader readers on up who enjoy scifi and timetravel adventures that deal with deep topics. Notes on Content: No language issues. No sexual content beyond a peck on a cheek. There are some fatalities (or possible fatalities) on page, but no blood or gore described. Past or future well mass killings are related/threatened but only structural damage is described.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Meyer

    I didn't enjoy the first book in the series that much, but I was hoping the second book would be better. However, it still wasn't my thing. Things I Enjoyed: • More serious. One of my problems with the first one was that it wasn't serious enough, but this one had plenty of that. Liam especially seemed to grow in this book. • Another great time limit. It had me on the edge of my seat as I was reading. (Although if book three has one it will start to feel repetitive.) • A few more answers. All the tim I didn't enjoy the first book in the series that much, but I was hoping the second book would be better. However, it still wasn't my thing. Things I Enjoyed: • More serious. One of my problems with the first one was that it wasn't serious enough, but this one had plenty of that. Liam especially seemed to grow in this book. • Another great time limit. It had me on the edge of my seat as I was reading. (Although if book three has one it will start to feel repetitive.) • A few more answers. All the time travel stuff made my head hurt, but I mostly understood. Things I Didn't Like: • I didn't always understand the characters. There was just so much hate going around, between humans and Telphons. Everyone just wanted to blow each other up. While I know that's accurate to how people are, I just don't see how they can hold onto all this hate for so long. • Phoebe wasn't my favorite character still. I just didn't connect with her the way I connected with Liam. So, three stars for this. I might read the next book, I might now.

  22. 5 out of 5

    thefourthvine

    This is the middle third of the single book that is the Chronicle of the Dark Star, and in a way it's more of the same and in a way it's worse. So, first, the more of the same: the book ends on a cliffhanger and doesn't resolve anything. The worse part: the two main characters, Liam and Phoebe, spend a remarkable amount of time being done to rather than doing things in this book. Most of the plot is run by high-level NPCs (well, powerful aliens) and powerful magic items (well, science items). It This is the middle third of the single book that is the Chronicle of the Dark Star, and in a way it's more of the same and in a way it's worse. So, first, the more of the same: the book ends on a cliffhanger and doesn't resolve anything. The worse part: the two main characters, Liam and Phoebe, spend a remarkable amount of time being done to rather than doing things in this book. Most of the plot is run by high-level NPCs (well, powerful aliens) and powerful magic items (well, science items). It's less "high school students save the universe" than "high school students are lost in a universe they don't understand and cannot figure out, doing things at random, and at most managing not to die." It's a tough sell as a plot, though it might have worked better if this hadn't been presented as a stand-alone book. I'm going to finish the series, assuming book three is the end, because at this point I still don't feel like I've read a novel.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I was super excited to read this having really enjoyed the first book so, so much. Unfortunately, I didn't find this sequel as exciting or compelling as the first. For one thing, I felt it really became just too complicated and bizarre. And maybe that's just science fiction and I don't typically read straight up science fiction. I loved the prologue which explained events well before the events of the first book. In fact, much of this book is really about explaining why things are happening (in I was super excited to read this having really enjoyed the first book so, so much. Unfortunately, I didn't find this sequel as exciting or compelling as the first. For one thing, I felt it really became just too complicated and bizarre. And maybe that's just science fiction and I don't typically read straight up science fiction. I loved the prologue which explained events well before the events of the first book. In fact, much of this book is really about explaining why things are happening (in a word, it all comes down to just elaborate revenge plans), but then vague things like giant doorways and "the Drove" get in the way.  There were definitely a lot of things I liked about this: getting Phoebe's point of view, Phoebe and Liam trying to figure things out, descriptions of vast space. But beyond that I just found myself a bit annoyed wading through the rest.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Yapha

    After a flashback explaining Phoebe's back story, this picks up right where Last Day on Mars left off. Phoebe, Liam, and JEFF the bot, along with their injured parents in stasis are trying to catch up to main transport ship. There are so many twists and turns in this book, including trips to the past, future, and alternate realities, that any plot summary can't really do it justice without spoilers. A fantastic work of science fiction!! You must read the series in order. I am eagerly anticipatin After a flashback explaining Phoebe's back story, this picks up right where Last Day on Mars left off. Phoebe, Liam, and JEFF the bot, along with their injured parents in stasis are trying to catch up to main transport ship. There are so many twists and turns in this book, including trips to the past, future, and alternate realities, that any plot summary can't really do it justice without spoilers. A fantastic work of science fiction!! You must read the series in order. I am eagerly anticipating the next book! Highly recommended for grades 4 & up.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    I love this series! I was glad I found the first book rather late as I didn't a have a long wait for book 2! But now (sniff) , have to wait for books 3! So our solar system is destroyed by the sun going super nova and humanity, having been on Mars, begins it's final escape into the universe. I did not see the beginning of this book coming at all. But what a wild ride this book begins on- so much more depth is added by it. Love the characters and root for them all to make it "home." So good. Scif I love this series! I was glad I found the first book rather late as I didn't a have a long wait for book 2! But now (sniff) , have to wait for books 3! So our solar system is destroyed by the sun going super nova and humanity, having been on Mars, begins it's final escape into the universe. I did not see the beginning of this book coming at all. But what a wild ride this book begins on- so much more depth is added by it. Love the characters and root for them all to make it "home." So good. Scifi fans are going to enjoy this story as will those who like to read dystopian lit. YA and adult.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kitty Zhang

    I've read the first book back in the summer and now I finally remembered to read the 2nd book! This book is adventures, romance (a little), and also mysterious. It talks about 2 kids, Phoebe and Liam, and a panda look-alike robot, JEFF, that is on the space ship in the space trying to catch up and meet with the other space ship where the human survivors live when escaping Mars. During the journey, Liam had discovered that he could travel back in time with a watch that an alien had left behind, a I've read the first book back in the summer and now I finally remembered to read the 2nd book! This book is adventures, romance (a little), and also mysterious. It talks about 2 kids, Phoebe and Liam, and a panda look-alike robot, JEFF, that is on the space ship in the space trying to catch up and meet with the other space ship where the human survivors live when escaping Mars. During the journey, Liam had discovered that he could travel back in time with a watch that an alien had left behind, and he had discovered that Phoebe is not the Phoebe he had been best friends with for 3 years. The Phoebe now is Xela, an alien. What will happen to them? Will Phoebe, A.K.A Xela betray him?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Like any continuation of a series, this did get a little weird. However, it wasn't too weird I got turned off. I did feel like their run in with one of the characters was just a chance for an info dump. But I don't know how he could have written in any differently. It was a really quick, but exciting read! I cannot wait for the third book to come out! Regardless of this being aimed for the younger kids, it's got a lot of backstory and a pretty good plot! My only issue I have is how in the world Like any continuation of a series, this did get a little weird. However, it wasn't too weird I got turned off. I did feel like their run in with one of the characters was just a chance for an info dump. But I don't know how he could have written in any differently. It was a really quick, but exciting read! I cannot wait for the third book to come out! Regardless of this being aimed for the younger kids, it's got a lot of backstory and a pretty good plot! My only issue I have is how in the world did some of the things get built in the time they supposedly got built?!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    A solid sequel to the Last Day on Mars. The story continues to get more complicated as Liam and Phoebe learn more about the watch, what it means to move backward in time, and how that impacts their lives. Some serious sci-fi topics are included like parallel universes, tesseracts, and the Other. This is a sci-fi option for the more nerdy, science oriented reader who will love the complexity of the story. Mind you, this is a middle grade book, so adult sci-fi readers, remember this is for younger A solid sequel to the Last Day on Mars. The story continues to get more complicated as Liam and Phoebe learn more about the watch, what it means to move backward in time, and how that impacts their lives. Some serious sci-fi topics are included like parallel universes, tesseracts, and the Other. This is a sci-fi option for the more nerdy, science oriented reader who will love the complexity of the story. Mind you, this is a middle grade book, so adult sci-fi readers, remember this is for younger readers than you.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Diane Whittaker

    I liked this book. Time travel, robots, outer space, close friends, Aliens, and danger all around. The descriptions of what was happening with people, places and time was amazing. Friends have to figure out where they are where they need to be and how to get there. In this second book of the series the starliner Liam and Phobe are following runs into a bomb placed in an engine. A million people in sleeping in their pods are now in danger of not making it to a new place to call home. Read the boo I liked this book. Time travel, robots, outer space, close friends, Aliens, and danger all around. The descriptions of what was happening with people, places and time was amazing. Friends have to figure out where they are where they need to be and how to get there. In this second book of the series the starliner Liam and Phobe are following runs into a bomb placed in an engine. A million people in sleeping in their pods are now in danger of not making it to a new place to call home. Read the book to find out how the young friends find the answers to questions with heip from a weird watch, an alien, and a door that just appeared.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    I’m really enjoying this middle grade sci fi series! It’s not life-changing, but it’s a very engaging story. Emerson does a fantastic job of conveying the suffocating feeling of traveling through endless space. There are some interesting ideas about time travel throughout the series that mess with your brain. This second book dragged a little bit through the middle, but picked up at the end. The author includes a mean cliffhanger at the end of each book that makes you want to continue. I have se I’m really enjoying this middle grade sci fi series! It’s not life-changing, but it’s a very engaging story. Emerson does a fantastic job of conveying the suffocating feeling of traveling through endless space. There are some interesting ideas about time travel throughout the series that mess with your brain. This second book dragged a little bit through the middle, but picked up at the end. The author includes a mean cliffhanger at the end of each book that makes you want to continue. I have several lingering questions that I hope will be answered in the finale.

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