4 out of 5
With the kids musing over the last book’s revelations, Vehlmann is able to work in some very smart, funny dialogue concerning religion and god, while other conversations mull over more scientific explanations for things. In both cases, Vehlmann proves how capable he is of making this book work on so many levels – kids’ adventure; Lord of the Flies thriller; casual think piece – and his intuitiveness at jumping between those levels when appropriate.
It’s not too long into things when Saul becomes obnoxious again, and this does open up the book to the same slight hitch as Saul’s last time ’round – he seems able to whip things into absurdity a little too quickly, and it amounts to a fun and thrilling good guy vs. bad guy dynamic that you almost wish Vehlmann would evolve and milk for longer.
The exchange, of course, is that we can volley the story forward, which Book 6 very much does, with Alone’s usual high standard of fascinating game-changers. What’s also fun about Fabien’s style is the way he purposefully dodges out of some filler; moments that other stories would use to inject fake drama Fabien runs up to, sets up a scene to have us chortle at (which I literally did in this case), and then quickly moves on.
Similarly, these books continue to fly by as I read them, and I’m sad that I’m almost caught up with the most recent ones…