Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Manga Review: Laddertop

The Laddertop - Gift to Earth's Future

Twenty-five years ago, the alien Givers came to Earth. They gave the human race the greatest technology ever seen— four giant towers known as Ladders that rise 36,000 miles into space and culminate in space stations that power the entire planet. Then, for reasons unknown, the Givers disappeared. Due to the unique alien construction of the Laddertop space stations, only a skilled crew of children can perform the maintenance necessary to keep the stations up and running.

Back on Earth, competition is fierce to enter Laddertop Academy. It is an honor few students will achieve. Robbi and Azure, two eleven-year-old girls who are the best of friends, are candidates for the Academy. They will become entangled in a dangerous mystery that may help them solve the riddle of the Givers...if it doesn’t destroy the Earth first!

Laddertop, volume 1 is the first installment in an American manga trilogy written by Ender's Game author, Orson Scott Card, and his daughter Emily Janice Card. It was illustrated by Honoel Ibardolaza. I was offered the chance to review this manga by its publisher, Tor Seven Seas. And I jumped at the chance.

We are introduced first to Azure and then to her best friend Robbi (short for Roberta). Both are middle school girls who are waiting to hear if they get to go to Laddertop Academy. Laddertop is one of four towers that extend up to outer space and culminate in a space station. And one of the jobs isn't something just anyone can do. These people have to be small enough to fit into the work space. Meaning they hire short middle schoolers for this job. And they are very selective. As suspected both girls are chosen and whisked off to training.

Right from the start I was under the impression that Azure was the heroine. She had the stronger personality. I could not have been more pleased when I found out I was wrong. That girl drove me crazy. Robbi, on the other hand, reminded me of myself. The other kids were fun and interesting, and, like many middle grade books, the adults aren't completely trustworthy.

The story started off slow, and a bit confusing, but it soon picked up and ended on an exciting note. I blame that on this being the first volume, thus needing the setup and world building. I'm excited for volume 2 where the story should be even more interesting and exciting. If you enjoy sci-fi and graphic novels, you won't want to miss this one.


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