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The Misplaced Mentor Book Review

by Kathleen Lance

Synopsis

In The Misplaced Mentor, strange things start to happen on New Earth, Tremain and Christopher must, once again, come to the rescue.

First, normal life is interrupted by the appearance of strange beings, completely erasing everyday reality for a few minutes. Then Senator Marcus’ aunt Marjorie turns up missing. When Tremain and Christopher start their search for Marjorie, they discover a cave full of lodestones and the complications begin.

Marcus, Tremain, Christopher and Celeste must find Marjorie and stop whatever is causing the break in New Earth reality.

Theme of the Book

As is usual in the Tremain and Christopher series, The Misplaced Mentor is a book full of adventure and humor. Yet there is also a more serious side to the story. In including Marjorie, the author has made an important point that age is no barrier to knowledge and that the need to feel useful does not end with retirement.

What I Liked About the Story

The Misplaced Mentor is the fourth book in the YA science fiction series The Adventures of Tremain and Christopher. Tremain is the quintessential absent-minded professor, full of grand ideas but unable to keep track of his sandwiches. In this book, Christopher has grown up a bit and is now a young man with a steady girlfriend, Celeste, thus adding a bit of clean romance and humor to the plot.

The book begins with a series of short scenes that bring chaos to the normal, average life of the citizens of New Earth. The first of these had me laughing as I pictured it in my head. The scenes are delightfully written and set the stage for the rest of the plot.

The science and technology the author writes about are those things that every reader will identify as fun to have: AI that can crack passwords, roll-up tablets and a transmitter akin to the Star Trek transporter that makes travel a matter of seconds. The author doesn’t treat these as anything special, just as normal useful objects making us want them even more.

YA readers will enjoy the humor in the book from the reason for Solomon’s name to the gnat-sized fighter ships. Adult readers will also enjoy the humor but will find Marjorie an important character and will be able to sympathize with her loneliness and her sense of being isolated.

What I Didn’t Like About the Story

This episode in the adventures of Tremain and Christopher felt a little flat. To be sure, I went back to read episodes 2 and 3, having previously read the first book. The basic idea for this story, the inter-dimensional portal, is a great one, if not highly original. The lodestones are a carry-over from the previous novel. There was not the sense of danger or adventure that has come to characterize this series. I never felt that any of the characters was in a perilous situation and the alien creatures were more humorous than frightening.

I hope that the next episode returns to the quality of the first three.

Final Say

Although not as strong as the first three books in the series, The Misplaced Mentor is still a good story for both YA and adult readers. The characters are engaging, the plot moves at a good pace, and the novel has no issues that would prevent parents from approving of it.