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Maelstrom review

Second outing for the planet Petaybee's dynamic duo

Author: Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Publisher: Bantam press/Transworld

237 pages • £17.99

ISBN: 978-0593056134

Rating:

The self-terraforming planet of Petaybee gets particularly possessive and maternal about letting anyone who has undergone the action-packed fun of puberty leave its surface. This makes the young Shongili twins, Ronan and Murel, perfect candidates for using their seal-morphing and telepathic powers to become intergalactic ambassadors.

This comes in handy when the twins are called upon to bring aid to residents of the inhospitable planet of Halau, which is in the middle of a rather nasty meteor shower. Gathering up Halau's refugees and their accompanying animal totems in order to rehome them on Petaybee seems a relatively easy task. That is until the twins find out that some of the totems in question are great big hungry sharks, known as Manos.

Acclimatising these less-than-cuddly creatures to the sentient world of Petaybee becomes a frantic exercise in aggressive aquatic politics when Ronan and Murel find out that not all life on Petaybee wants to be discovered, let alone eaten!

This second volume in the "Twins of Petaybee" series is a much more robust and adventurous read than the previous series opener Changelings. Whilst Maelstrom's pre-teen protagonists will certainly endear the book to a younger audience, the twins are still rather wise beyond their years in a way that all McCaffrey/Scarborough's younger heroes and heroines tend to be.

Yes, it's xactly what you'd expect from the two authors. They're queens of the space soap-opera genre (both teen and adult) for good reason. So here's hoping they don't lose too many readers with the series' rather wimpy opening, because this is where things really get going.

Rhianna Pratchett

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