Crater by Homer Hickam

Leah Courtney

Crater by Homer Hickam is a young adult sci fi novel published by Thomas Nelson.  From their description:

All titles published by Thomas Nelson are written from a Christian worldview—all of our authors are Christians. But our titles are classified differently based on each book’s level of overt Christian content: some are classified as Christian fiction; others are classified as General fiction. Crater by Homer Hickam (author of the novel behind October Sky) is classified as General fiction.
A mining colony on the moon. A teen sent on a deadly mission. And a secret bigger than two worlds.
It’s the 22nd Century. A tough, pioneering people mine the moon for Helium-3 to produce energy for a desperate, war-torn Earth.
Sixteen-year-old Crater Trueblood loves his job as a Helium-3 miner. But when he saves a fellow miner, his life changes forever. Impressed by his heroism, the owner of the mine orders Crater to undertake a dangerous mission. Crater doubts himself, but has no choice. He must go.
With the help of Maria, the mine owner’s frustrating but gorgeous granddaughter, and his gillie—a sentient and sometimes insubordinate clump of slime mold cells—Crater must fight both human and subhuman enemies. He’ll battle his way across a thousand miles of deadly lunar terrain and face genetically altered super warriors in his quest to recover an astonishing object that will alter the lives of everyone on the moon.

I've long been a sci fi/fantasy reader.  I chose Crater to review from the standpoint of a young adult book because I have young adult readers in my house now, and I am always looking for good book recommendations. 
There are some young adult books that are timeless.  Even though they are marketed to young adults, they are good reading even for adults.  This was not one of those books.  Young adults might find it somewhat interesting. I found it difficult to get through.  The characters were shallow with very little depth.  Hardly ever are we treated to a glimpse of their inner thoughts.  They may not have any inner thoughts for all we know from the story.  The whole book is more of a retelling of events.
If you're looking for a distinctly Christian novel from Thomas Nelson, you maybe disappointed also.  The description above makes sure to classify the book as General Fiction.  It does have some worldview references: the characters pray to "the Big Miner" and refer several times to a higher power, though not clear what this higher power does.  The "good" characters in the story are distinguished by a desire to help others instead of profiting from them.  There is some ambiguity, however, because most characters determine it is okay to do whatever benefits them in the situation.  Even our hero, Crater, who is hesitant to kill the enemies at the outset, has changed enough by the end of the story that he is part of the death and destruction in the final fight.
 There are also many references to evolution as fact.  There are references to the formation of the moon in billions of years and the assumption that humans have evolved to live on Earth, thus needing special considerations when living on the moon.  I understand most secular viewpoints would present evolution as fact. But this is problematic for me when I hand my child a book published by a Christian publisher.
For your science buffs, there are some cool facts about the moon in this story.  In fact, at the end of the book, Homer Hickam gives readers some great scientific information explaining some of the technical things in the story.  I, personally, could have probably used that explanation before I read the book because some of the technical jargon was a little confusing to me.

I have to give this one a 3 star rating.  I just wouldn't recommend it.  Because of all the violence, I would give it at least a PG rating.  Nothing is extremely graphic, but it is there.
I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

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