Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: Aoléon The Martian Girl​ by Brent LeVasseur


The Martian Girl Part 1

by Brent LeVasseur

Aoléon Press

Middle Grade 

Science Fiction

125 pages

Mars wants our cows (yes, cows!) and they're sending an invasion fleet to take them from us. Only Gilbert and Aoleon the Martian Girl stand in their way!

Gilbert always longed for adventure but now that he has it, he's not sure that it's everything it's cracked up to be. Ever since the night he met Aoleon the Martian Girl sitting in the middle of a crop circle in Farmer Johnson's field, it's been nothing but one wild ride after another.

From fighting off swarms of giant killer robots to dealing with strange aliens from another world, never mind trekking across the vast Martian desert in order to skyboard deep into the center of a (hopefully!) extinct volcano, Gilbert's had his hand full just trying to keep up with it all. And now it's up to him and his new friend, Aoleon, to face off against the evil Martian overlord and keep our cows safe at home where they belong.

The launch of this exciting and innovatively illustrated new series takes the reader deep into the heart of an unforgettable and out-of-this-world friendship in a story full of hijinks, hilarity, and good old-fashioned fun. Join Gilbert and Aoleon in this exciting middle grade science fiction adventure today!


My first impression was  'Wow!'. The cover is amazing and draws in right away. It sticks out and screams 'grab me and take a peek'. And that's exactly what a cover should do. The illustrations follow suit from there. They are vibrant, full of color and look like they're right out of the latest computer animated movie. My son loved them, especially the planet shots.

The story itself shoots off with a cosmic bang! It was cute to watch the connection with the field circles and see the not so deep and unexpected reasons why a young mars girl creates them. We get a little bit of a feeling for Gilbert and Aoleon (at least, we learn Aoleon has a good heart despite her adventurous side) before they head off in her spaceship together on a wild ride.

The plot is fast paced. Really fast. The characters dodge with the spaceship from one hairy situation into the next, and  in the process, visit a couple interesting places around the world. It reminded me of an action scene taken out of a movie and held the tension and humor of one too. With short scene changes, we're taken from Aoleon's spaceship as she tries to maneuver her way out of the chase to NASA to a boy in Chicago's apartment to the White House and other places. These scene and point of view changes made for hilarious moments but at times, seemed like a movie trying to add interesting shots. My biggest complaint was that this chase thing simply went too long. The book only has 118 pages and this scene went all the way to page 70. First, then did the reader head to Mars and learn of the real intrigue (which we got just a taste of here and seems to be continued in book 2). This isn't a high plot book, but then, it wasn't designed to be.

The characters are fun. Aoleon has a great mixture of mischief, heart and curiosity. If a kid had to run into anyone from Mars, she'd definitely be the alien of choice. Gilbert, the main character, falls short in her shadow. . .but what boy wouldn't when set up with a Martian girl like her? There isn't much character depth to either one and that makes it hard to really care about what happens to them (sympathize with them) but this isn't a story about heart, it's one of action. And that is done well.

The writing itself is as fast-paced as the plot. The language is modern day and hits just the right amount of details to let the reader dive into the world and see it happening around them. The vocabulary itself is difficult. I appreciated the glossary at the back to help with some words, and I'm a total supporter of having 'bigger' words mixed in to help strengthen a kid's vocabulary (after all, if they don't learn it while reading, then when?) But there are terms which really streamed past any middle graders (and most YAers) vocabulary and were simply thrown in as if the kids would understand. My son found this frustrating, and he's a complete science/space nerd.

This is a book, which from the cover, promises fast-paced, modern graphic adventure, and that's exactly what it gives. It would be great for reluctant readers if it weren't for the vocabulary hang-ups. The illustrations are perfect, modern day wonders and there are lots of extras including a downloadable song available, making it perfect for today's marketing main stream. The illustrations on almost every page are amazing, making this a potential great grab for kids who shy away from thicker books. Can't wait to see what happens in the next books, since the real plot appears to only have begun.


In LeVasseur's debut middle-grade sci-fi novel, a friendly extraterrestrial girl whisks a Nebraska farm boy away for a wild adventure of Martian intrigue, rebellion and invasion." -Kirkus Reviews


The Martian Girl Song!

Another World - Single

Featuring Élan Noelle

Download on iTunes

And here he is. . . 

Mr. LeVasseur enjoys crafting good stories based on lovable characters designed to translate well to multiple media formats such as books, games, movies, and toys. He lives in New York when he is not commuting between Southern California and Olympus Mons, Mars. His hobbies include writing, 3D animation, musical composition, and intergalactic space travel. He also enjoys various sports such as skiing, running, and exospheric skydiving.

Connect with Brent:   Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Aoléon: The Martian Girl 

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