Review – Kevin J. Villeneuve’s The Adventures of Nick and O-Zone: Protectors of the Universe
The Adventures of Nick and O-Zone: Protectors of the Universe is the debut release from author Kevin J. Villeneuve. The story centers on a 12-year-old boy, Nick, and his alien friend O-Zone. Aimed at a middle grade audience Villeneuve’s story contains plenty of positive signs for the future.
The tale begins as we meet Nick and O-Zone in a school setting, interacting with Nick’s friends in a way that lets us discover both characters in an informal situation. Later that evening as Nick sleeps he is awoken by O-Zone who declares it’s finally time for Nick to visit his space station.
Nick is then (rapidly) introduced to his role as the newest member of The Terraguard, the universe’s defense team, before going on a mission – which if they fail threatens to potentially destroy a whole planet’s way of life.
On the mission itself Nick meets several characters of interest, as each in turn is seamlessly added into the mix. Keelah in particular is someone to watch out for. Villeneuve seems to have dropped plenty of breadcrumbs along the way for a character that will surely play more than a supporting role in future adventures.
Writing a Middle Grade novel as an adult is a fine balancing act. The detail and vocabulary need to be at an appropriate level without giving the finished article a half-finished feel. Villeneuve has successfully produced a novel that appeals to youngsters (it was read by both my 11-year-old and 8-year-old with a thumbs up from both), without dumbing down excessively and is a story that holds up to adult scrutiny. Would I like to read more? A more substantial version of the story, with a more detailed back story? Yes, I would. That tells me Villeneuve in The Adventures of Nick and O-Zone: Protectors of the Universe has produced a decent first novel for a middle grade reader.
**** 4 Stars!!!