I would like to thank Michael Raymond for generously sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The book focuses on Nate and Victoria Robinson, two siblings whose parents are kidnapped by unknown assailants in the middle of the night. Who is holding them captive and why? That's what they plan to find out.
Victoria is the smarter of the two Robinson siblings; at least when it comes to sheer knowledge. She uses big words and seems to enjoy understanding how things work. Nate is more of the hands on type and finds it easy to pick up objects and learn how to use them without having to know how or why they work. It is the typical duo of book smarts and practicality exemplified by the following passage:
Victoria muttered under her breath, "Sycophant." "What did you just call me?" Elmer had stopped in his tracks and was casting her a dangerous look, "A sicko-what?" Victoria froze up inside and just kept walking but Nate turned around. "She said, 'Sicko-PANTS,' because your pants are so ugly they make her want to throw up."
Raymond's love for technology really shines through in the book. The author uses a mixture of real-life science with a splash of made-up alien technology that make it seem plausible. While I love using technology, I wouldn't consider myself a technology enthusiast. My interest waned whenever one of the characters began to go into detail about something, however there was enough humor and action to keep me reading.
One departure from reality that bothered me was the way Nate and Victoria handled their parents being kidnapped. While they did get upset, I felt more often than not that they were too preoccupied by things like cool alien technology and interesting locales. It seemed that the parents were more of a plot mechanism to force the kids into taking their adventure.
I also felt that several scenes in the book were too lengthy that a little more editing could have made the overall plot more concise. I felt that some of the transitions between certain chapters were choppy, as if they were almost randomly placed in the book. While I realize the reasoning behind the chapters placements, I feel the transitions could have been written differently or placed earlier in the book.
One important note I should make is, if you like to read the afterword before starting a book, Raymond gives away a big surprise right from the start (don't say you haven't been warned). I always like it when an author doesn't write the typical list of thank you's and Raymond does a good job of making it interesting.
The end leaves you with a small cliffhanger that left me feeling more curious than suspenseful. I'm not sure where the sequel could go, but Raymond hints that it will be darker than Dark Matter and I'm all for darkness. Look for The Robinsons' Quantum Entanglement tentatively set to release by the end of 2013.
While there were some flaws, The Robinsons' Dark Matter was an enjoyable read. Pick up this book if you enjoy aliens and alien technology mixed with humor and adventure.