The Adventures in Wild Space junior novels are thrilling reads that are strong on character
Kids without parents. It’s a classic set-up of children’s literature. Whether the children in question have been orphaned, as in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and Harry Potter, or sent away to a relative as in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the absence of parents ignites the plot. Even where the parents are still around, there may be an emotional distance wedged between them and their kids — in Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, Coraline discovers an alternate version of her home life through a doorway and is initially drawn to the Other Mother and Other Father there. Without parents, the child heroes must rely upon their own abilities and skills. Self-determination is the rule of the day, which is an inspiring thing for children to read about.
The Adventures in Wild Space series is molded out of classic children’s literature, with each installment a thrilling continuation of the story. It began with a World Book Day prologue (The Escape) and has added five junior novels to date, with The Cold being the latest. Writers Cavan Scott and Tom Huddleston take turns on writing duties and they both understand how to keep the tension running and the excitement flowing. Most importantly they never lose sight of character; it is the character work that really makes this series tick.
All About Character
Lina shot him a look. ‘Are you crazy?’
‘Says the girl who wants to use an entire mountain range as a crash mat!’ — Cavan Scott, The Cold
The Clone Wars have ended and the Empire is in full swing. Lina and Milo Graff’s parents are explorers charting systems within Wild Space and therefore have information that the Empire wants (a significant MacGuffin in light of Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy). Their parents are abducted by Captain Korda and brought into imperial custody. However, the MacGuffin remains with the children, so Korda and the Empire goes after them next. Korda is almost their equivalent of Lemony Snicket’s Count Olaf — albeit without the elaborately bad disguises.
Lina is the oldest of the siblings and she is already more than a capable engineer. Her brother Milo has other interests: he is knowledgeable about the diversity of living things to be found in the galaxy. (Shades of Violet and Klaus from A Series of Unfortunate Events further hinting at the set-up of classic children’s literature.) The children are scared and alone, yet also bold and resourceful. They end up in frightening scenarios and have to solve the problems thrown at them. That they cope and do so in a believable fashion makes for involving storytelling. As a result, kids will form strong bonds with Lina and Milo and delight in how they persevere through each adventure. Adult readers will be transported back to their own childhood selves. There really is fun to be had by everyone with this series.
Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space: The Cold by Cavan Scott is published by Egmont in the UK and is available now. © & TM 2017 Lucasfilm Ltd.