Series: Gemini Force One, Book One
Creator: Gerry Anderson
Format: For Review*
Published: 2nd April 2015
Number of Pages: 228
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Action-Adventure, Middle Grade, YA, YA-Child Crossover
Recommended Age: 10+
Contains: Violence, Death, Swearing, Alcohol References
Author’s Site: M.G. Harris
Blurb From Goodreads:
After the tragic death of his father, Ben Carrington’s mother teams up with a wealthy entrepreneur to form an elite, top-secret rescue organisation – Gemini Force.
Ben is determined to become part of the team, but can he prove he has what it takes to face dangerous situations and save lives?
Impossible rescues. Maximum risk. This is Gemini Force 1.
“Caroline, Addison, Ben; welcome to Gemini Force One…”
When Ben Carrington’s father dies, his mother decides to set up a mountain-rescue team, based in her homeland Austria. But when disaster strikes again, she joins forces with a rich businessman and together they create the secretive rescue team named the Gemini Force.
All Ben wants to do is be part of the team – to save people. But being at college, it’s a little hard to convince his mother to let him take part…
He’ll just have to prove himself – while observing the heroic rescues carried out by the Gemini Force, of course.
But he has no idea what is waiting for him aboard Gemini Force One…
I remember watching old reruns of The Thunderbirds with my Dad and younger brothers. I remember loving the action and quirky humour, even if the puppets and special effects were a bit odd for me. I was so excited when I heard about Gemini Force One – a modern day Thunderbirds team written for teens? Yeah, I needed to get my hands on that book as soon as poss. And I must say, even with all the set-up, this book was truly exciting. I mean, when you open with someone falling from a plane, a second pilot throwing herself from a second plane to catch him and a Countess and her son climbing out on a ledge of one of the highest buildings in the country to rescue the pilots, you know you’re in for an adrenaline-pounding ride. And I just know that the rest of the series are going to be a million times more amazing, now that the Gemini Force has been set up and established.
Ben was a great lead character – brave, clever, stubborn and totally human, beneath his “too English“ exterior. Sure, he didn’t always make the best decision, but he just wanted to help and I admired that about him. He just felt like a real teenager – albeit it a rich, saving-people sort of a real teenager.
Now, I’m not going to lie – aside from Ben, the character-development was not the best, but I definitely had my favourites. I loved Addison, Jasmine and Caroline – they were all brilliant in their varying ways (badass, sweet, badass). And as for Truby, our wealth entrepreneur, it took me a while to warm up to him, but by the end I’d become quite fond. As for the rest of the Gemini team, I kind of occasionally forgot who was who. I mean, there were a lot of names and I kept mixing them up – who did what, who drove which machine, what their code names were… I think there needs to be more fleshing out, more character development in book two, so I can really get to know everyone. I know they could all be so great, if they were just padded out a little more.
But the plot of Black Horizon… awesome. Yes, there was a lot of world-building, but the action and adrenaline of the rescues really burst off the page and utterly hooked me. And then, just over half way through, came an event that totally and completely shocked me to the core. I was just left freaking speechless. I mean, just… whoa. Whoa whoa whoa… I am so excited for the second book – I can’t wait for more high-stakes rescues!
So, I don’t normally talk about world-building in non-fantasy books, because generally I don’t need to – cause, y’know, it’s our world. But in Black Horizon, I loved seeing the Gemini Force being built, loved watching them rescue people, loved getting to know the base and all the machines. It was so cool! The only thing that would make it cooler would be if we had pictures of the ships at the front of the book!
I know all of Anderson’s other works were made for TV or the cinema and therefore I know that Gemini Force One would look amazing on screen – and it was brilliant in book form too. M.G. Harris really brought the base to life for me. But as brilliant as Black Horizon was in writing and as amazing as Harris is at telling a story, I can’t help wishing that this book will be made into a film. It would just be too perfect – all the action, the awesome ships… yeah, that would be cool. I mean, with the way Harris wrote, it was like watching a movie inside my own head, and ergo it could be awesome on screen!
After all of this rambling, I need to say that it’s kind of hard to review Black Horizon. Not because I didn’t enjoy the book – because trust me, I really did. But the subject matter, the action, the whole formula, just makes it really hard for me to write a review the way I normally do. I don’t want to give anything away and can’t think of a better way to say that Black Horizon was just so much fun and such a rush. It was the perfect escape – just like I remember Thunderbirds being. It will draw in a whole new legion of Anderson fans and, I think, will satisfy life-long TB fans too.
Oh, and I am literally dying to get my hands on the second book, Ghost Mine – and to watch Thunderbirds Are Go on Sunday. Yay extreme rescues! And Black Horizon is out today so grab your copy now!
4 Out of 5
Read this book if you liked:
The Joshua Files by M.G. Harris
Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz
Cherub by Robert Muchamore
Department 19 by Will Hill
Megan, The Book Addicted Girl
* This book was received from Orion in exchange for an honest review
** Quotes used are from a proof copy and may have been changed in the finished book