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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Dangerfield and the Solar Empire by Robin Audu is a dazzling debut that comes to life with imagination. Dangerfield is no stranger to being different, thanks to her unique name, so it shouldn't come as a surprise when she goes to the roof of their apartment building only to be struck by lightning. That's not even the strangest part. Following her lightning strike, she meets the constellation Orion who has come down to make sure she wasn't harmed and the weird only grows from there. She befriends other space beings such as Shinething and Venus so when her new friends ask for her help, she doesn't hesitate. She can't deny the excitement at the opportunity to help the sun and the adventure that comes with staying a step ahead of the dangerous Mr. Lynx by keeping safe the mysterious Moonstone. She thought middle school was tough, but the memory of her late grandfather is all she needs to guide her.
The story has a quirkiness to it from the unique use of the name Dangerfield to the space adventure-infused plot. Dangerfield and the Solar Empire is immediately quirky by introducing how she received her name, thanks to being born in an elevator and her parents deciding she was certainly not a Suzie. She has a love of the stars which foreshadows the epic adventure she takes after the stars literally come from the sky. The adventure is rooted in the mystery that comes with helping her new space friends, which balances a superhero-toned style rooted in the use of a lightning strike and an arch-nemesis. The story is aimed at all ages with Robin Audu delivering a read that has action, humor, coming-of-age, and science fiction goodness.
Granddad is an important character and, even though having passed away, is still the strongest presence in her life and acts as her compass through each stage of her adventure. His advice is what steers her in the right direction and he is the one who told her that when she's lost to look up at the stars and they'd help her find her way. His advice acts as a guiding factor in her journey. He's the one that furthered her love of the stars, which is what drew the stars back to her with Audu weaving in several moments with Granddad that are important in her fight against Mr. Lynx. Dangerfield and the Solar Empire is a high-paced adventure with action-packed moments, humorous situations, a quirky tone, and an epic adventure with space beings.