Death Trap by Sigmund Brouwer

Book description:

Set in an experimental community on Mars in the year 2039, The Robot Wars series features 14-year-old virtual reality specialist Tyce Sanders. Life on the red planet is not always easy, but it is definitely exciting. Tyce finds that the mysteries of the planet point to his greatest discovery—a new relationship with God. He talks about his growing faith and curiosity in a manner that kids can relate to as they are probably wondering some of the same things. Each book contains two exciting adventures. In the first adventure, the Mars project is in trouble and only Tyce holds the key. In the second adventure, Tyce has discovered there may be killer aliens on the loose.
Robot Wars is a repackaged and updated version of Mars Diaries. There are now five books in the series; each book contains two stories. These new books contain a foreword about how far science has brought us.

My review:

I am not a huge fan of science fiction, but I did enjoy this book.  From the opening scene in the book where Tyce is playing a virtual-reality game, I was completely sucked in.  I thought the author did a really good job in making the scientific aspects of the book easily understandable to a non-scientific reader.  I think what made the book so enjoyable was that Brouwer applied realistic concerns about the future of Earth, for example over-crowding and water and food shortages, as a backdrop of why the colonization of Mars was so important.

Another aspect of this book that was so enjoyable was that the main character was a teenage boy who is in a wheelchair.  There isn’t a huge selection of books in which the main character is confined to a wheelchair.  I appreciated the fact the author featured an intelligent, confident, capable boy who just happened to be in a wheelchair.

Brouwer is so clever in how he takes relevant, timely topics and addressed them in a way that makes readers think.  For example, in the second journal in the book, he tackles genetic manipulation and cloning.  I think it introduces younger readers to this topic in a thought-provoking way, without overwhelming them.

If you are looking for a book to encourage your teen boy to read more, this might be just the ticket.  There is a lot to appeal to younger readers, and adult readers as well.  I look forward to reading another book in this series.

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