Authors: Walter Jury & Sarah Fine
Publisher: Putnam Children's
Publish Date: May 1, 2014
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Tate and his father don’t exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best—at everything. Tate finally learns what he’s being prepared for when he steals one of his dad’s odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush the school, killing his father in the process and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans.All Tate knows--like how to make weapons out of oranges and lighter fluid--may not be enough to save him as he’s plunged into a secret inter-species conflict that’s been going on for centuries. Aided only by his girlfriend and his estranged mother, with powerful enemies closing in on all sides, Tate races to puzzle out the secret behind his father’s invention and why so many are willing to kill for it.
It's always a bit of a risk when you fall for a novel before you've ever read it. It's also a bit risky when that novel doesn't have nearly the hype you might expect it to have. Scan, however, is the type of story that doesn't really need the hype or the know-how surrounding it. Rather, it does better, slowly building, burning and consuming your mind as the action and adventure course through your veins. Co-authors, Walter Jury and Sarah Fine, knew what they were doing when they crafted this novel, and they gave all readers a story in which it's almost a little too easy to lose yourself in its world.
The alien vs. human conflict is an age-old one in literature, but it's one I've never failed to continue to be interested in. Scan was pleasantly surprising in this regard, paying homage to previous such stories but offering up its own take on intergalactic battles, as well. I found it refreshing that, rather than focus on everything but the drama, the authors focused heavily on the alien vs. human conflict. However, they did so in an incredibly powerful manner that wasn't as black and white as you might think from the premise. Just like you might imagine, not everything is simple. Not all humans are good, and not all of the aliens were bad, so it made the enemy difficult to pinpoint from start to finish...making you question whether there was really any one guilty party.
Tate was the perfect protagonist for a story like this. He exuded much of the confidence, demeanor and cockiness that you might expect from a teenage boy. However, there was also a dark void in him that left him frustrated with his parents and with the adults in society. Until events unfold, Tate doesn't know what he's being trained for, and though his life is devoted to his training, he can't help but wonder why, and whether there is more to life than he experiences every day. I could appreciate that Tate was fighting an internal battle throughout the novel, and I loved that, through the events of the novel, we watch as he grows into his own person and evolves into a powerhouse worthy of his father's pride.
I did have some questions throughout the Scan though - some of which were left unresolved at the end. While this could easily have been a setup for the next novel in the series, it didn't help that the questions were nagging throughout the novel. I also must say that I wanted a bit more of the secondary characters in the novel. I felt as though Tate's mother and his girlfriend, Christine, were often mentioned but mostly overlooked. While I feel as though these character dynamics and relationships could have heightened the story significantly, I felt as though those relationships were simply touched upon and cast aside. I can appreciate that the story didn't revolve around a romance, but a simple mention begs for more detail.
Overall though, despite a few little issues, I really enjoyed Scan. It's the perfect novel for Trekkies and science fiction junkies like myself, rife with the possibilities of greatness in future novels. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy classic science fiction and alien stories.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.
Thanks to the lovely folks at Penguin, I have a second ARC of Scan to give away to my lovely readers! This giveaway will be open internationally, and it will end promptly at midnight PST on 5/15/14. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter for your chance to win. Good luck!