Unlock the Unknown

New Earth

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
484 Pages
Reviewed on (not set)
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

Unlock the Unknown: New Earth by Michael Estafo and Sabrina Estafo is the first book in the Unlock the Unknown series. It all begins with a card reading foretelling their future. Four strangers are brought together through an opportunity at the live-in school on New Earth. Soren Cutrone's world came crashing down when Earth was destroyed, along with the loss of his family and his age, which reverts back to sixteen, with him having no idea how to get back to his true age. Asuka Akioto is the princess of Okulis Orbitorium who craves spontaneity and adventure through partying, drugs, and racing. Damonico Damirror is the heir of Wretched Hollows with a secret relationship and a hidden beast within. Amelia Vossler of Kandy Kingdom wants to be accepted and dreams of having a bakery, but finding her place is difficult when she belongs to an evil family. The four are forced together through a surprising destiny meant to bring unity to the galaxy.

The setting is fantastic and well-written, with the plot being character driven by a group of people that are layered and flawed. The four characters don't share the same goals on the surface, and they're not necessarily acting in the best interests of the others. A lot of humor is derived from their clashing and their attempts to learn how to work together as a group in order to understand their destiny. They do share the same desire for freedom, though their reasons are vastly different: Soren wants to be forty-five again, Damonico doesn't want to hide his relationship anymore, Asuka wants to be free to do whatever she wants, and Mia wants to break away from her family. Through twists and turns, they keep being brought back together in surprising ways.

Secrets drive the plot as each of them has a secret they don't want uncovered. Soren stands out mainly for his politeness and specific speech, not using the same jargon as the teenagers. He's brilliant but also caring, and is one of the nicest characters. A lot of sympathy goes out to the group for they're all struggling in one way or another, but a possibility of friendship may be what saves them all. Sabrina Estafo and Michael Estafo bring a fun perspective and excitement to the science fiction genre, with worlds rich in details, jargon, history, and culture. Unlock the Unknown: New Earth is an exciting start to a series; clever and funny, dangerous and action-packed.

Divine Zape

Unlock the Unknown: New Earth by Michael Estafo and Sabrina Estafo features an interesting marriage between science fiction and adventure, a story set in 2045 against the backdrop of an evolving universe. A survivor of a terrible tragedy and a modest genius from Earth, Soren Cutrone is still struggling to figure out how to return to his real age when he is chosen with three others — Asuka Akioto, Damonnico Damirror, and Amelia Vossler — and forced to attend the Unison Grand in the New Earth. The reader is introduced to compelling characters from different planets, leaving behind everything to attend the first live-in school on New Earth. Follow them on a journey where their destinies are linked, where they experience the best and the worst of moments. With their different gifts and unique natures, will they be able to unite to stand against a powerful enemy bent on destroying everything the New Earth stands for? Are they any match for the Vigore Alliance?

This is a phenomenal book with strong, distinctive characters put in a situation that tests them in many ways. I enjoyed the way Michael Estafo and Sabrina Estafo handle their characters. One feels that each character is genuinely flawed, well-thought out with great emotional and psychological depth. The conflict is strong and it is introduced right off the bat and in a way that grabs the attention of the reader instantly. It is interesting to watch the characters as they evolve through the conflict to a satisfying climax. I loved the great writing, the gripping plot and, above all, the wonderful characters. Unlock the Unknown: New Earth will certainly be a delightful read for fans of young adult fantasy.

Rabia Tanveer

Unlock the Unknown: New Earth by Michael Estafo and Sabrina Estafo is an amazing young adult science fiction novel that takes the reader on a journey. This is a story of four people from very different lives, but their destinies bring them together for an unforgettable journey. Our story begins when Soren Cutrone, a guy who does not age, arrives on New Earth. Soren barely survived the demise of Earth and now he is on New Earth to finally find some peace, only to have his life tangled in something of which he wants no part.

Soren is told by a card reader that he will be embarking on a journey to a great adventure, one that will be very vital for the future of all. Joining him on this journey are Damonico Damirror (heir to the throne of Wretched Hollows), Asuka Akioto (princess of Okulis Orbitorium) and Amelia Vossler (Lady of the planet Kandy Kingdom). All four of these unlikely fellow travelers start their journey on the first ever live-in school on New Earth, and very soon realize that they have a great connection. As they unravel their relationships and friendships, the Vigore Alliance introduces itself and makes it unbearable for these unlikely and unmatched heroes to stand together and fight. What can these four people do when they are barely starting to trust each other? Can they truly fight evil and live to tell the tale?

From the beginning to the end, the story grabbed hold of me and did not let it go. I connected with the story and the style of writing right from the start. The way the story was told, how it grew, how it developed, and how the authors differentiated between the people of different planets made the story more enjoyable. This is a fast-paced, witty, humorous and action packed story that I thoroughly enjoyed. Definitely one of the best sci-fi and young adult novels I have read this year.

K.J. Simmill

It all began on April 5th, 2045. Earth was evacuated to a new planet within the Unison Galaxy; its name now New Earth. A guide reaches out, providing a reading to four strangers. They didn't know each other, but their paths will be inescapable intertwined. He hoped to provide them with at least some small insight into what they would face, but time was limited. Fate will put them on a difficult path, one they doubt they can conquer, but first they must be united. Events drive each of them to attend the first galaxy-wide, live-in school on New Earth. Watch four unlikely allies as they embark on a journey of discovery in Michael Estafo and Sabrina Estafo's Unlock the Unknown: New Earth.

I thought it was brilliant how each of the four seemingly unique characters were connected. When first you meet them, you wonder what can be in store, and why these people, so opposite to each other, are the selected four. But all becomes clear. With such diverse personalities and great development, you'll find it difficult not to be drawn to the characters. The science fiction aspects are nicely integrated into a functioning society. Love, romance, mystery, action, and violence come together in an amazing crescendo to form a fantastic, intriguing, and involved journey of discovery.

Unlock the Unknown: New Earth is a must for lovers of science fiction and fantasy, and at the end of this book the real journey is just about to begin. From all that occurs, I can confidently say that it certainly shows a lot of promise as a series. I also liked the addition of the rather comprehensive appendix of terminology and character biographies at the end of the book. I really thought they added a little something special. A gripping read, full of surprises. I look forward to reading more work from Michael Estafo and Sabrina Estafo in the future.

Mamta Madhavan

Unlock the Unknown: New Earth by Michael and Sabrina Estafo is an exciting sci-fi/fantasy novel that takes readers into the worlds of the four – Soren Cutrone, Asuka Akioto, Amelia Vossler, and Damonico Damirror - who leave their real lives behind after a card reading that has similar messages for all four. They evacuate planet Earth, and go to their new world, New Earth. The Union Galaxy homing eight life-inhabiting planets is where things change when evil forces collide. Soren Cutrone is a modest genius native to Earth, Asuka Akioto, princess of the planet, is suffocated by her stuffy lifestyle, Damonico Damirror, heir to the throne of the planet Wretched Hollows, has only two things on his mind, love and power, and finally Amelia Vossler, Lady of the planet Kandy Kingdom, wants acceptance and allowance into the gates of the Royal Kingdom of Kandy. The book chronicles the journey of the four, which becomes a part of their lives forever.

The story is a mix of mystery, intrigue, suspense, and fantasy and it is exciting to read how Soren, Asuka, Damonico, and Amelia restore unity to the Union Galaxy. I like the way the author distinguishes the four characters in the story by portraying them in a way so that they are different from each other yet possessing a kind of strength that makes them unique. The rest of the characters in the story complement the main characters and plot beautifully as the story progresses. The narration is vivid and detailed and the author makes the characters tangible and the scenes come alive for readers. The journey of discovery undertaken by the four and their understanding of the planet New Earth is fascinating as the story unfolds, and it will keep readers glued to the book till the very end.