Review by Adrina Palmer
Set in the same world as ‘Waypoint Kangaroo,’ Curtis C. Chen’s ‘Kangaroo Too’ is bursting with adrenaline and intrigue in this unique outer space adventure.
Sci-Fi has never been my preferred genre, however, ‘Kangaroo Too,’ by Curtis C. Chen, just might be the exception to a world I previously was unwilling to explore. A few things didn’t quite add up for me in this short three hundred page novel, but none of these missing elements ruined the world created or my enjoyment of this book. Best part: this book is sarcastic. Chen speaks my language.
The pace is a bit of a concern for me. First, this is a sequel, and I have not had the privilege to read the first book, which set me on uneven ground from page one. I felt like I had been dropped off in the middle of a football field during the second inning and suddenly I had to run for the ball and keep pace. While uncomfortable, I was able to catch up, but the pace never let down for the entire duration. Honestly, the pace is so fast at some points I felt I needed my eyes to move faster to keep up.
Following where ‘Waypoint Kangaroo’ left off (or so I have read), we follow Kangaroo through the colonized solar system. The main character has a pocket with a universe inside, hence the name apt name Kangaroo. Yes, this pocket is a portal into a universe, much like my grandmother’s purse was, where Kangaroo can store anything he can fit inside. With the pocket capable of expanding up to fifteen feet, he can stow a lot of storage. His life has definitely not been dull. Can you imagine the things you could do with a portal pocket? Forget the old dog at my homework excuse, tell the teacher you put your homework in your pocket universe where it froze and then disappeared. Except Kangaroo did not go to a typical school as he was orphaned by his parents and raised by the government who wanted dibs on secret compartment. Thus a spy is born.
Now on a mission with medical officer Jessica Chu, they are headed to the moon to meet with a contact who will only speak with Jessica. Kangaroo is on the mission because who else could transport the contacts fee of twenty gold bars off of earth without adding to the flight’s weight limit? The first night stoic Jessica disappears out on the town with a mysterious man and the next day is arrested for his murder. To make matters more complicated, a terrorist attack bombs the lunar power plants and shut the moon down, meaning no travel in the underground tubes. The guy who set the attack in motion is the guy Jessica is locked up for possibly murdering.
Kangaroo still needs to meet the contact and get the information in trade for the twenty gold bars, while trying to exonerate Jessica so he can have his partner back at his side to complete his mission. The pace picks up as they battle to find the information they need and discover some secrets that personally affect Kangaroo and others show that not everyone can be trusted. Kangaroo honestly may not be able to trust almost anyone. These surprises are worth the read and as out of this world as Kangaroo is himself.
Anyone who has a sarcastic bone in their body will fall in love with Kangaroo and his self-deprecating personality. He is like Jim Carrey, in a space suit. The other characters are believable if not necessarily enjoyable. I found Jessica to be too phlegmatic to enjoy, although she made a decent counterpart to the jokester Kangaroo. Other characters either had too much or too little personality and just didn’t wow. The protagonist definitely carries the heavy load. He also loves to get into his different aliases making sure everyone correctly pronounces what ever ridiculous name he is assigned.
The gadgets and gizmos are what make this book interesting. The pocket is amazing (except when it’s carrying snakes or space shuttles, then it’s kind of scary) but other tech proves how far in the future this show takes place despite no dates announcing how far in the future the author has taken us. Nanobots that can cause excess earwax, blood that can kill robots, and people living on the moon. I have personally never had a desire to live anywhere but this planet, but retirement communities on the moon for those who spent too much time away from earth, is a very amusing idea. Chen manages to find a way to write complacently about the solar system as if traveling around the universe is a mundane activity.
This break from reality was a breath of fresh air. But there were large areas where the plot was muddled and hard to follow. I am still not one hundred percent sure what the mission was. Despite being lost, I enjoyed the journey. The novel also comes with a puzzle on the cover, which I have not figured out. A website comes along with, but so far the link does not work. Either way, the book is enough to keep your attention and provide a whole universe of funny.
Now available in book stores