“Lorac: a science fantasy adventure to protect our planet” by Neus Figueras (Author), Evan Piccirillo (Illustrator) is one of those rare books that would appeal to any age group. Its genre is described by the author as a “YA, science fantasy, magical realism” but it goes far beyond the “Young Adult” category. I am in the OA (old adult) group and I find it an intriguing combination of charming and terrifying, the latter coming from the ‘realism’ part that describes, with vivid detail, what we are doing to our planet and its ecosystem. Still, it is young adults that need this book most – the rest of us, not quite brain dead, know it already.
The book is very well written, with great imagination and accessible language, presenting a young hero who encompasses the best qualities we all wish our children would internalize: honest, innocent, brave, loyal, compassionate and determined to do the right thing. Another of my favourite characters was Zoe, whom Neus created with a delightful sense of humour. I loved the bantering dialogue between Lorac and Zoe, it made me laugh aloud several times.
The book is also highly educational, teaching the readers about the fascinating world of coral reefs and aquatic life. My only suggestion to the author, to help young readers cope with the science, is to use more easily identifiable descriptive terms, like ‘brain coral’ wherever possible, instead of the scientifically accurate ones that can be harder to remember. Instead of the casual reference, maybe a short description would be helpful.
The plot is complex with surprising twists that keeps the reader engaged till the end. I literally couldn’t put it down and finished in one day. I can highly recommend it both to parents and young adults alike.