Thursday, 29 January 2015

Book Review - Cakes in Space

Title: Cakes in Space
Author: Philip Reeve
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Release Date: 4 Sept. 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0192734563

Astra's family are all snoring in their sleeping pods, but Astra is WIDE AWAKE. With her friend, Pilbeam, she goes off exploring and soon finds out the ship is in deep trouble. It's been knocked off course and invaded by a gang of Poglites, an alien salvage crew searching for spoonage.
But even the Poglites need Astra's help when they discover something far more sinister lurking in the canteen. Sure, they're cakes; but no one would describe them as sweet.

My Review
It's that time of year again in our library service - 'Children's Book Day'. This is an annual event where staff at the library are given a set of books to read, we go through them over the next few months and then all meet up for a big day of book discussions, author visits and idea sharing. It's the high point of my year and is a great way for staff to expand their knowledge of current books and discover new books. This year I believe we have 4 Teen/YA titles, 4 children's titles and 6 picture books. If you have followed my blog before you will have seen write ups of the books the last couple of years. It's always a great mix.
I try to review from both my point of view and that of the target audience although that can be hard to do.
So Cakes in Space was the first one I picked up. Partly because I know Sarah McIntyre who has illustrated this book- (I met her when she did an event at our library last year and she was totally awesome.) But I also took it because it was the only one left at the time :P
Astra and her family are going on a journey to a new planet for a fresh start, but it's going to take a hundred years to get there so everyone has to go into a pod and enter a frozen sleep to preserve their bodies. But something goes wrong and for some reason Astra wakes up early. Everyone else is still sleeping soundly but her pod has failed, she then discovers that more than that has gone wrong with the ship - it's been invaded by aliens called Poglites, the systems are crashing and worse than that the ship is being over-ridden with giant man eating cakes. With vicious frosting, wicked cream-cakes and killer cupcakes. 
The illustrations are of course fabulous and match the story perfectly, but I have to admit it that I found the story rather annoying. It turned very silly very quickly and seemed to try and focus on too many aspects at once. It wasn't just the cakes, but the computers and the aliens and the spaceship. There were too many problems and a lot of messages hidden in there that it seemed a little jumbled to me. 
But it is a very simple read which only took me about 45 minutes in total and it is fun. Astra has a very spunky attitude and is fun and feisty. She doesn't shy away from trouble and faces problems head on. Her robot friend Pilbeam is quite funny and cute and the Poglites don't seem all that bad.
I can see kids loving this book and the mash of nonsense and fun with the illustrations to bring it to life more. But I have to admit it just wasn't for me- it was just too hectic and silly but I can admire the charm in it.

My Rating

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