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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Under the Blue Comet by Tom Hoffman is the first book in The Comet Kid Chronicles, a well-crafted story for fourth to sixth graders. It is filled with adventure and magic. Eleven-year-old Max Underwood’s life changes on his birthday when he becomes conscious of his incredible powers. His parents are not who he has believed them to be, a realization that is eye-opening and disturbing for him. But there is no time to process the mysterious happenings in his life as he and his sister, Grace, are kidnapped by an alien and transported to a dying, dystopian world through a wormhole. The android known as Crystal Father controls this world. Max and his sister are faced with numerous challenges, from the harsh environment to deadly creatures, to aliens, and unforgiving bandits. As they unravel the mystery of the blue comet, they also create friendships with Sophie and Zeus, an eccentric robot. Ultimately, the fate of Earth is in their hands as they mount a standoff against powerful forces.
This is a sweet story, as adventurous as it is entertaining. Max is well-developed, a boy born under a blue comet, who must figure out his mission and who he is while exploring an uncharted alien world with his sister. While the novel is written for young readers, it was a gorgeous read for me, exciting and filled with fun. Tom Hoffman explores themes of adventure, family, friendship, courage, and inclusion in a grand style, showing readers that differences are not an obstacle to finding common ground and working together. There are lessons of teamwork and the message that collaboration with others brings bigger success comes out clearly in the story. The prose is beautiful. The world the author creates is imaginative and exciting to explore. Character development is stellar, and the plot points are equally strong. The humor is plentiful in the story. I enjoyed every bit of Under the Blue Comet, and this is a story with some entertainment for a wider audience than sixth graders.