Reviewed by Cari Rérat
Written by Orson Scott Card and Emily Janice Card (with help from Zina Margaret Card), Art by Honoel A. Ibardolaza
Teen Graphic Novel
Twenty-five years ago, an alien race came to Earth bestowing civilization with technology far beyond what we could even imagine. This inspired the people of Earth to call the aliens the Givers. The Givers also gave Earth the ability to cleanly generate all the power it would ever need through a space station called Laddertop. Despite their generosity, while they were on Earth the Givers were never actually seen and the reason they disappeared is unknown. The Givers also never explained why they designed Laddertop to necessitate having gifted children see to its maintenance. Of course, the people of Earth would never look a gift horse in the mouth or ask too many questions of technology so powerful, so they dutifully developed Laddertop Academy and began recruiting gifted middle-schoolers to send into space.
When quiet, contemplative Robbi and her rambunctious best friend Azure are admitted to Laddertop Academy, they have to navigate a school full of kids just as gifted as they are while they learn how now to throw up in a zero gravity environment. Amidst the day-to-day training, troubling things begin to happen to Robbi—she is bitten by a mechanical bug and begins hearing strange voices. She and Azure are determined to get to the bottom of what is happening to her.
Having been a fan of Orson Scott Card’s writing since high school, I am not surprised that I enjoyed this manga-style graphic novel. While it is impossible not to see similarities between this story and Orson Scott Card’s well-known Ender’s Game series, it is refreshing to read about middle school girls in space who are (possibly) tasked with saving the world. This volume has very little resolution, marking it as the first in a series, but the Cards include enough action and back story to make it a fun and satisfying read.