Star Wars Beyond the Films‘ Nathan P. Butler is now posting short, non-spoiler reviews for many new releases. Spoiler-filled discussion will often follow in the weeks or months thereafter on the podcast.
Adventures in Wild Space: The Nest by Tom Huddleston (softcover, 2016)
The Nest is book #2 in Adventures in Wild Space, though technically the third entry in the series if one considers the essential prelude book, The Escape, from World Book Day. You can find my previous reviews of The Escape and The Snare here on SWR.
It should also be noted that Adventures in Wild Space is a series currently exclusive to the UK and Ireland. However, a U.S. release is coming later this year. In that release, The Escape will be included in the first numbered book in the series, The Snare.
Adventures in Wild Space
Adventures in Wild Space (by Cavan Scott and Tom Huddleston, each writing separate books) follows Lina Graf (age 10), Milo Graf (age 9), their droid CR-8R (Crater), and their Kowakian Monkey-Lizard (Morq) as they face off with the Empire (in the person of Captain Korda, an officer with a metal jaw akin to Darth Malak in Legends or Jaws in the James Bond franchise). Their goal is to save their parents, a pair of explorers who have been taken captive by Korda. The Empire, it seems, wants their exploration data about Wild Space as it expands. It is under that premise that a half-length junior novel (The Escape) and now four full-length junior novels (The Snare, The Nest, The Steal, and The Dark) have been released.
The end of The Snare left Lina, Milo, CR-8R, and Morq jumping to hyperspace to seek the source of an anti-Imperial signal in search of potential allies. It leads them to the planet Xirl, a world full of exotic predators that have been brought by a group of big game hunters, led by Gozetta. When the small group runs afoul of the hunters, they find themselves facing dangers both humanoid and beastly, all the while seeking clues as to their next destination in search of their kidnapped parents.
The story of The Nest is what one would expect of this sort of scenario in a book for children. The hunter characters are typicallly villainous, the kids are bait or otherwise put in danger for the sake of the hunters’ own plans, and the kids are generally able to figure things out that the adults miss completely. Creatures provide some tension and eventual resolution to the situation with very few unexpected twists along the way.
That said, the story does provide an important link between the last book, The Snare, and the next, The Steal. By the end of the story, our heroes are pointed in an intriguing direction that promises not just further story advancement but possible encounters with locations and characters familiar to both adult and younger Star Wars fans.
The Nest is Tom Huddleston’s first outing in Adventures in Wild Space, as the previous two books were both by Cavan Scott. While the book connects some dots to move us from the previous book to the next one, it feels more like a run-of-the-mill “creature feature” B-movie or episode of any science fiction children’s cartoon than anything that stands out on its own merits. If there is an entry in the series that feels like “filler” so far, it’s The Nest.
It isn’t a poorly-written boook, but the material just never rises to the tension of its two predecessors, probably because the Imperials are absent from this entry in the series. I look forward to seeing the series return to its primary story and not making me feel as though it is taking an unnecessary detour.
(Minor spoiler to elaborate on why the book feels unnecessary: The source of the transmission turns out to be offworld, so the authors could easily have skipped this book entirely and simply had the characters go to the correct signal source in the first place.)
While I am growing to like the premise of Adventures in Wild Space and can see its potential, especially for younger readers, this book felt like it simply did not need to exist to make the series work. Here’s hoping that Huddleston’s next entry in the series, The Dark (book #4), will be a stronger entry.
Recommended for: Those wanting to connect the dots between The Snare and The Steal.
Not recommended for: Those looking for a story that is particularly compelling outside of just connecting those aforementioned dots.
The copy used for this review was a retail purchase.Powered by Sidelines