By: Ann Birdgenaw
Illustrated by: E.M. Roberts
Publisher: DartFrog Plus
Publication Date: May 18, 2022
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: July 5, 2022
Space explorers, and best friends, Hawk, Matt, and Celeste, are off on another adventure in book three of the Black Hole Radio series, Black Hole Radio: Ka'Azula, this time to the not-so-friendly planet of Ka'Azula.
The story gets off to a quick start, when on the very first line of the first page, Hawk is trying to outrun a bunch of bug aliens. Will he make it? Fortunately, Hawk (and the reader) learn that it's just a dream - Hawk is really safely at home, in his bed. Ever since returning from Bilaluna (see the previous book in the series, Black Hole Radio: Bilaluna), Hawk has been dreaming about aliens coming after him. Hawk then catches the reader up on the adventures that he, Matt, and Celeste have been on, thanks to a rather unique radio.
Next the friends are off to school, and basketball takes center-stage for all the kids. Celeste, who has no real interest in playing basketball, soon discovers that the Queen of Bilaluna, who had promised a "gift" to one of them, gifted Celeste with the power of levitation. This special skill will come in handy during basketball practice, and during their coming adventure...
Speaking of adventures, the three friends soon find themselves transported, thanks to that pesky radio, to the planet of Ka'Azula. The aliens are definitely not friendly and the strange thing is that while these aliens are all blue, they insist that the visiting friends must become blue too. Hawk and Celeste are tricked into turning blue (never take candy from a stranger!), but Matt manages to avoid all the things that might turn him blue. Not understanding what is going on, Matt is separated from his friends and basically thrown into an alien version of a jail. Here he meets a little red alien, Teal. With Teal's help, Matt realizes that the inhabitants of Ka'Azula who are blue rule the planet and believe that anyone who is not blue is inferior. A video game that all three friends, plus Teal, must survive, will determine the fate of the whole planet...
Black Hole Radio: Ka'Azula, the third book in the Black Hole Radio series for pre-teens, offers another creative adventure full of fantastical creatures, interesting concepts, and a little science thrown in for fun (do you know how to remember all the planets in our solar system?). The author tackles racism in this story in a way that doesn't come across as preachy, and also shows just how hurtful and painful it can be. Rather than just being told how bad racism is, readers will see the results of it, and how it hurts a sweet character (Teal) and those around him. The "bad guy" in the story, TopMost, has some serious thinking to do as the story nears the end - will he see how wrong his thinking has been - and will our friends be able to return to Earth? And what about Teal?
Quill says: Get ready for another fun, and educational, adventure with Celeste, Matt, and Hawk, as they explore the racist planet of Ka'Azula. Will they be able to help the planet's inhabitants see how wrong they are?