Review: Earthman Jack Vs. Ghost Planet by Matthew Kadish

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Publisher: Privateer
Publishing Date:April 2014
ISBN: 9780991064717
Genre: SciFi
Rating: 2.2/5

Publisher Description: Jack Finnegan only has to worry about dealing with school bullies, suffering through detention with his homeroom teacher, and getting noticed by the girl of his dreams… at least until an army of evil aliens invade Earth. Suddenly, this teenage slacker finds himself at the center of a galaxy-spanning conflict – where the lives of everyone on the planet are in jeopardy, soldiers use Quantum Physics to become superheroes, and the enemy uses some mysterious form of magic to make themselves practically unstoppable.

Review: Cover art is pretty good.

This was built for the YA reader, yet some adults will have a good time with it. This novel attempts to combine a lot of elements; adventure, budding love, teen angst, dry wit, strange alien characters and a reluctant hero. This novel is better utilized for adults that missed their plane to Bora Bora and have 6 hours to kill.

Earthman Jack is the last ummm…..earthman, whom has the lost ancients ship at his command. He survives the destruction of Earth with the Princess of the galaxy and her cohorts. There were parts of this novel VERY reminiscent of the “Last Starfighter” movie, what with the video game training/starship flying parallel. This has a whole heck of a lot of ridiculousness coupled with serious instances (earth blowing up etc.).

The author utilized the tried and true overuse of verbs and adjectives to expedite scenes and glibly describe character responses. The word “actually” was used 108 times. “grumbled” 73 times. “mumbled”, 39 times. “growled”, 69 times. “muttered”, 78 times. Fug. Besides the painful overuse of certain words that grind on my psyche every time they come up, there was the “Ole scallywag space alien pirate” shtick that lessens any novels believability. Really. Alien space pirates that talk like Captain Sparrow’s mates on the Black Pearl…..fug me. There is just no way you can visually render pirate aliens, let alone one called ‘Scallywag’. It is even lame to attempt an insult of such magnitude on the reader.

That all said, the novel was entertaining and definitely does not take itself seriously, so why should I? It is glib and transient and glides along the edges of a “Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy”. Only the Deathlords are not funny, in any way, shape or form. Zarrod, the supreme Deathlord is not real convincing in that he regales others about himself…”I am supreme….Omega…culler of worlds…blah, blah blah”. The author kills of the most interesting man in the Galaxy, Paragon Shepherd. I mean, wtf? He mentors Jack, is going to train him as a Paragon, saves everyone’s life multiple times, has kewl armor and wields badass weapons. Really? BANG! Yur dead. Fuggin A’.

It is kind of too bad that the story-line spent most of it’s time embedded on the Deathlord’s ship with Jack and his cohorts constantly being recaptured here and there. This novel might have been better served with an adventurous escape across the galaxy, discovering ancient alien ruins on their quest to uncover the hidden secret of the universe and stop the tyrannical Deathlords. Plays better for the YA crowd. Instead we get a whole lot of interaction with Deathlords on their ship, or on Jack’s ship with one destination….the ghost planet. Ho hum.

This was a surprisingly long-winded read and despite the novels word over-use and static placement or lack of movement, I enjoyed the story-line. It just needs to be tightly edited and pointed in a more interesting direction.

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