by Vera Nazarian
Dear GOD what a wonderful book. It’s a Young Adult story, but don’t let that stop you. And it’s first in a series so you can look forward to reading all of the books in the Atlantis Grail series.
The setup: there’s a huge meteor/planetoid headed for earth, and extinction-level meteor, and it cannot be stopped. An offshoot of the human race that left for the stars ages before we knew of them, people who left the legend of Atlantis in their wake, can take some of us but not all of us. Young people of high school age will adapt the best, and to decide which of them gets saved and taken off of Earth in time, the visiting Atlanteans subject them to a series of skills trials. Qualifying to leave doomed Earth is a matter of life and death, and the criteria involve things that will allow one to be a part of Atlanean society, as well as test of intelligence, strength, and logic. It becomes a planet-wide livestreamed spectacle, amid a world falling apart in the face of the coming disaster.
And the cruel trials can be fatal, too. It makes you wonder if those Atlaneans are such nice folks after all. But what choice do the earth-humans have?
The story follows point-of-view teen Gwen and her three siblings through the Qualification process. I got a bit bored with some of the parts that would appeal more to a young person, like Gwen’s interest in two young men, and thought that a coming betrayal was telegraphed too obviously, but maybe author Vera Nazarian will surprise us. There were more than enough twists in the first book to satisfy me. I’m hooked.