Black Hole Sun, by David Macinnis Gill
Durango is an 8-year-old (16 in Earth years) living on Mars and working as a mercenary. His latest mission is to protect a group of miners from a group of cannibals called the Dræu. With help from Mimi (his former chief and the artificial intelligence that resides in his brain), Vienne his subordinate, and a ragtag team of other mercenaries, the group faces a deadly enemy. But the miners are hiding a secret and the real reason the Dræu have been attacking.
Durango acts older than his age, having been thrust into authority and orphaned as a child. The dialog between Durango and Mimi is cleverly written and always entertaining. Gill’s setting on Mars is unique and inspired. Human colonists from Earth have settled on the harsh planet, making it their own. But it seems Mars has its own native life as well.
This fast-paced science fiction romp for teens is just as enjoyable for adults. It’s an action-packed adventure with plenty of suspense and chills. I was thoroughly impressed with the surprising twists to the story that left me wanting more. With young adult fantasy so popular right now, it was refreshing to read such a solid science fiction novel geared towards teens. An engaging story with fantastic characters on a desolate planet – it doesn’t get much better than this.