Intraterrestrial takes the reader on an interesting journey, based as it is on an intriguing premise.
Thank you to the author Nicholas Conley for sending me a free copy to review, in return for an honest opinion.
It centres around 13-year-old Adam Helios , an adopted kid of Indian parentage, growing up in the US. The backstory leading up to the book is that he is the new kid in school, he is a tech geek, low on self-esteem and with confidence issues, his Indian heritage and lack of knowledge around his biological parents is problematic for him, and is being bullied physically and verbally by Joe Sanderson. He’s actually a nice kid, whose main interest is Space and his telescope, and fixing up bikes, and when he was younger “Jupiter Man”.
Oh – and he hears Voices, which he thinks come from the stars.
Adam eventually bites back, and batters holy hell out of said Joe, when Joe begins to harass Chandra, a girl Adam is beginning to like. Cue being brought to the office, where we encounter Adam’s adoptive parents. His mother is a termagant, and his dad the polar opposite.
They leave the office, and on the way home get involved in a car-crash that sets us on our way. His mother escapes without physical injury, but gains a new perspective on life as the book progresses, and she is faced with choices. His dad gets injured. Adam, however, ends up with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Adam “follows the light” while in a coma, and meets up with the owner of the Voice. He is entrusted with a high-risk, winner-takes-all mission to save the “spark’ of six aliens, while battling a powerful negative energy. At the same time, the aliens are actually saving him.
There are two main voyages of discovery, of Adam and separately but in parallel, his mother. Adam has an out-of-body experience journey, although he is trapped inside his skull. Camille, the mother, goes through a real metamorphosis of character. You find yourself rooting for these two, though at times the mother is a little too much, to the extent of being somewhat unbelievable/unacceptable in her approach to anyone outside her immediate family.
There is some Descartes-ian philosophy thrown in here too, which is always fun, and the medical scenarios seem to be plausible enough. The language may cause some parents to pause before giving it to kids, but for me it was perfectly acceptable for early teen 13 and on.
Overall, a four-star, because in spite of these small limitations it IS a very good read. Definitely one for the holiday bag, as it will entertain and amuse, as well as provoke a little thought about where do people with TBI go?