Book review

The Starlight Conspiracy by Steve Voake (2007)

If you could have magical powers, like Superman for instance, what would you do with them? Would you try to use use them for good, for the benefit of the world? And how do you think you would measure up to the task? Might you be tempted to use the powers solely for your own advantage? Personally, I'm not sure I could handle the responsibility....I'm not sure I could cope with the inevitable isolation from the rest of humanity....and I'm pretty sure I would want to hand back the magical powers after a while, if that were an option.

Of course, if I can't hand back the powers, perhaps it makes sense to try and hide them somehow so that neither I nor anyone else can ever use them? That's what Joseph Mitchell thinks:

'...I was afraid, you see. Afraid of what we had found. I decided then that I didn't want to hand it over right away.'
'Why not?'
'I was worried that it might fall into the wrong hands. I just needed time to figure out my next move. But the other guy must have realized the trouble he was in and tried to save his own skin by calling Security. Probably told them I'd attacked him and stolen it. Next thing I knew, the Feds were surrounding my motel room, waving their guns about. But by then I knew I didn't want anyone else to have it. So I took it and escaped.'

Maybe Joseph Mitchell did the right thing, but he can't keep it for ever. In the end he has to pass the burden on. And Berry has crossed his path. She seems to have the right qualities: she's a total stranger to him, she has no family who will miss her and she has a ticket to America...

It's difficult though. If he tells Berry too much she'll think he's plain bonkers. Or she might go bonkers herself. And if he doesn't tell her enough she won't appreciate the importance of the task. As it is, he forces the issue:

She discovered, to her surprise, that while she had been making the tea Joseph had secretly placed a mobile phone, two bulky envelopes and a small blue package in her rucksack.
Sitting cross-legged on her mattress, she tore open the first envelope and pulled out a bundle of crisp, hundred-dollar bills. Raising an eyebrow, she whistled softly and began to count.

He hasn't managed to give Berry much of a start on his enemies though. They're closing in on her even as she counts her dollars. She's going to have to make a run for it.

If you fancy charging round two continents on the back of a motorbike with bullets flying all around you, then this is the book for you. And I just hope you'll do the right thing with your magic powers when the time comes.

What can I read next?

If you enjoy The Starlight Conspiracy you might like to have a look at something else by Steve Voake:

  • The Dreamwalker's Child
  • The Web of Fire

If you simply enjoy a good action adventure where kids take on corrupt adults there is plenty to choose from. Have a look at this one by Malcolm Rose:

Or you might enjoy the Alpha Force series by Chris Ryan:

Also, the Bookchooser has found these books with a similar profile:

The Starlight Conspiracy features in these lists: