Review: “Trapped,” Douglas E. Richards

Pros: I think it works as a children’s book
Cons: Oops, didn’t see that it was a children’s book…
Rating: 4 out of 5

I started reading Douglas E. Richards’ The Prometheus Project: Trapped (Volume 1) because I’d been intrigued by one or two of his other books. This one sounded interesting as well, but I totally failed to note that it was a children’s book. Because of that, I started out thinking that the book was waaay over-explaining things and thus being totally condescending to its audience. I’m not familiar with most children’s books, but I did at some point realize maybe I should check Amazon and see–and yep, it’s under children’s fiction. So okay. I don’t think it’s being condescending any more.

At any rate, this is a story about two kids, Ryan and Regan–older brother and younger sister (yes that should have tipped me off. Shush, you!). Their family recently moved to the middle of nowhere, and the kids overhear their parents talking about top-secret projects and riddle-passwords and things like that. The kids decide they have to figure out what’s so important and thus set about breaking into their parents’ place of work. Mind you, I’m not buying it. Supposedly the lack of security is simply temporary, but given how cheap security cameras can get, I fail to believe that a place surrounded by razorwire and invisible lasers has yet to put up cameras every ten feet or whatever, and I also fail to believe that it has so few security guards. But hey, it’s a kids’ book, and that isn’t what you want to focus on.

After getting through various security measures, the kids find their way into what seems to be an underground alien city, where they find all the scientists celebrating having broken into said city–until, that is, a swarm of big insects appears and seems to eat everything except the kids–equipment, scientists, and all. The kids find that the doorway is closed now, and they’re going to have to apply everything their parents have taught them about the scientific method and puzzle-solving in order to save the adults and make their way out.

As an adult, I found chunks of this book boring or condescending, with plot holes included in a handful of places. Well, most of my lack of enjoyment was caused by my lack of awareness of this being a children’s book. There are still some plot holes here and there, but I think kids are at least less likely to notice them or be bothered by them.

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