Author: Shane & Alex Smithers
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Favourite Part: When they’re sneaking around a ship
Wraith, by Shane and Alex Smithers, is the story of James Locke, a sixteen your old boy living with his parents in rural New South Wales. Who can fly. His best friend Darren is training him to be better at landings, but before he can truly master them he is sucked into a cloud and a world that he never even dreamed existed. What follows is a fast-paced YA adventure that takes James and his new frenemy Aureole to islands, cities and rural towns around Australia as they hunt for the SAFFIRE. This object, a new technology developed by Aureole’s people, will save her home from climate change, and they need to find it fast. With the help of some friends and family in surprising places, a little investigative skill, and a lot of dumb luck, James and Aureole just might be able to find the SAFFIRE in time. What they don’t know, however, is that someone else is after the new technology, and they’re willing to bust career criminals out of jail to try and steal it.
I enjoyed this book, but I think if I had read it as a young adolescent I would have been absolutely glued to it – unfortunately for my pre-teen self it was only just published in July 2018. The sci-fi aspects of this work are the most engaging element; Alex Smithers’ background as a secondary school science teacher served her well in constructing the finer scientific concepts of this book. There is also a little romance, in a very genteel, hardly-spoken sort of way – enough to be interesting without dominating the story.
My only disappointment is in the open-endedness of some major plot-points, but I suspect this is to pave the way for a sequel, which, if this work is anything to go by, will be interesting, tricky, and full of interesting characters. This story is easy to follow, despite it complications, revelations, twists and turns; the language and characterisation are straightforward and engaging; and there is enough moral ambiguity to raise questions but not be intimidating. In short: a very good sci-fi book for 11-16 year olds.