Author: Gemma Fowler
Genre: Teen Fiction, Sci-Fi
‘A miracle energy source, lumite, has been discovered on the Moon. The dark days of future Earth – torn apart by war and energy crisis – finally appear to be over. Aggie, the violet-eyed poster girl for the mining company, Lunar Inc., is persuaded to campaign for a hopeful new future. But a chance meeting with one of the prisoner-miners, the darkly attractive Danny, changes her mind about everything she knows about her world…’
MOONDUST is a decent debut from Gemma Fowler. I read this book over the course of a week and it was interesting enough that I kept going back for a few chapters at a time, but not quite gripping enough to stop me from putting it down to get some sleep. While I would not recommend this book to other adults, it is very well written for its target audience – teenagers. It has all the typical aspects of a teen sci-fi novel: an interstellar setting, tragedy, love and cliffhangers.
The book itself is short, but is quite fast paced. Fowler has packed lots of action into it’s 287 pages. The story told from the point of view of Aggie, the protagonist. A teenage girl dealing with a traumatic past and hiding from the burden of an unwanted responsibility. Aggie is an easily likeable character, slightly awkward, but ultimately strong and relatable. She is accompanied on her journey of discovery by her best friend Seb, her godfather Adam Faulkner, FALL prisoner Danny and Celeste the AI system that controls the lunar base. The characters are all well established and interact well together. Fowler does an excellent job of maintaining the mystery of what is going on at Lunar Inc.,so when the truth is revealed, and Aggie (and the reader) learn of the betrayals of the past, there is genuine surprise and emotion.
The books main theme is the energy crisis on Earth, an extremely relevant topic in today’s modern climate. Fowler presents her readers with difficult choices and ethical dilemmas, and Fowler herself does not offer any concrete answers at the end of the book, instead leaving earth’s future uncertain. This disturbing view of Earth’s potential dystopian future has the reader questioning the situation we all find ourselves in now and what can be done to avoid such a horrifying fate.
My main, and only problem with this book is the ‘love story’ between Aggie and Danny. For me it adds nothing to the plot. It is unnecessary. The connection between Aggie and Danny feels very forced, as if it was only included because Fowler was told her story would not appeal unless there was a love story included, which is not the case. In fact, I think the book would have been stronger if it was omitted. There is no real reason for Aggie and Danny to be romantically involved, especially given the short time that the story occurs in. If the book had been longer and more developed, I could see the love story line being more effective, but as it is, the reader has no time and no reason to become invested in them as a couple.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. It deals with relevant topics and has some interesting ideas of the future, even if it uses a few typical tropes of its genre. I would recommend this book to younger teens, who are new to the world of science fiction.