Snapshot review: 4.5/5
Have you ever wished that someone would take ancient Egyptian culture, history and mythology and warp it into a pulpy, fun, futuristic, all-ages sci-fi adventure? There are two responses to that question. 1) HECK YES! 2) No, but I don’t like nice things.
But in all seriousness, Cleopatra in Space is exactly what it sounds like it is. The teenage Cleopatra, through a series of events, winds up in a distant future, far from home. She’s surrounded by a race of cats, aliens and humans, but it’s all alien to her. And of course, she’s the savior from an evil army on a warpath through the Nile Galaxy.
Mike Maihack has lovingly tied so many Egyptian things into his grand vision of the future, I couldn’t help but smile. She’s got a space bike shaped like a Sphinx, there are large tombs (where instead of dead people, they store long forgotten history), and cats are in control of the school she’s forced to attend. Many of the details are wonderfully built into the story and they don’t feel stupid. In fact, at some points, Maihack has the characters address the similarities with some wonderful humor.
If I had to relate the story to other things, I would say that it is a mix of Zita the Space Girl, Mass Effect, Stargate and Tomb Raider. It’s got the intergalactic armada and problems like Mass Effect, the sci-fi/Egyptian blend of Stargate, the action-adventure style tomb-raiding of… Tomb Raider, and the all-out fun of Zita the Space Girl, all without being derivative of any of them.
Maihack’s art is clean, crisp and fun. He’s got an excellent sense for layouts on each page and all of his characters are unique and fun. The coloring is bright and lively, illustrating a beautifully rendered future full of space pyramids, robot mummies, and talking cats. What more could you want?
In summary, this book was right up my alley. Full of Egyptian mythos and sci-fi action/adventure that I never knew I needed but now cannot live without, Cleopatra in Space #1: Target Practice has only whet my appetite for more. I will be highly recommending this one to kids, parents and everyone else!
As an added bonus, here’s a Cleopatra in Space #1: Target Practice desktop background straight from Mike Maihack’s website!
For reference, I was given an advanced review copy of the book via NetGalley and Scholastic, but was not paid or coerced to say nice things about the book. In fact, I met Mike Maihack at MegaCon and he seemed like a pretty awesome dude too. So there’s that.