Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Nathan Hale
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Technology is being destroyed by evil aliens called the Pipers. Inby, Auger, and Strata live in a caravan committed to finding and protecting the remaining technology. Strata finds a beautiful robotic pony that obeys her every command. Inby and Auger find robots, but when they activate them, the Pipers destroy everything. They escape on Strata's pony and meet a girl who is evading marauders. Pipers return and Strata comes to the rescue with her pony and leads the Pipers away. Unfortunately she leads them directly into the caravan and a major battle ensues. Strata and her pony are absorbed by the bubbles that the Pipers excrete. They are carried to the alien spaceship full of hungry monsters. The monsters consume intelligence and once they have devoured all robots, humans are next on the menu. With the help of her pony, Strata fights to survive and save the whole of the human race.
A solid story line and clever twists keep this tale interesting. The graphics are great and use earthy tones and disrupted city landscapes. The characters are a bit too stock, and Strata in particular could use some more work to give her courage and personality some depth. The ending seems a bit contrived and gratuitous. Strata's devotion to her pony is sweet and her dedication to the preservation of technology comes through. The Pipers are genuinely scary, but the monsters are too goofy to be satisfying arch villains. This may be intentional to keep the story in the target age range. The story has a happy ending, and little girls will enjoy and identify with Strata's love for her pony and her drive to save everyone and everything. What girl wouldn't love a mechanical pony of her own?
*Contains mild violence.