Published: June 21, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
A high octane science-fiction spy thriller that puts a new spin on the outer space adventure, WAYPOINT KANGAROO kicks off a blockbuster series full of adrenaline and intrigue.
Kangaroo isn’t your typical spy. Sure, he has extensive agency training, access to bleeding-edge technology, and a ready supply of clever (to him) quips and retorts. But what sets him apart is “the pocket.” It’s a portal that opens into an empty, seemingly infinite, parallel universe, and Kangaroo is the only person in the world who can use it. But he’s pretty sure the agency only keeps him around to exploit his superpower.
After he bungles yet another mission, Kangaroo gets sent away on a mandatory “vacation:” an interplanetary cruise to Mars. While he tries to make the most of his exile, two passengers are found dead, and Kangaroo has to risk blowing his cover. It turns out he isn’t the only spy on the ship–and he’s just starting to unravel a massive conspiracy which threatens the entire Solar System.
Now, Kangaroo has to stop a disaster which would shatter the delicate peace that’s existed between Earth and Mars ever since the brutal Martian Independence War. A new interplanetary conflict would be devastating for both sides. Millions of lives are at stake.
Weren’t vacations supposed to be relaxing?
This outer space thriller marks Chen’s debut. Chen has an extensive network of connections to prominent science fiction authors, and has studied under John Scalzi, James Patrick Kelly, and Ursula K. LeGuin.
I was very excited to receive an ARC of Waypoint Kangaroo from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press because I requested it on a crazy whim. I really had no idea what it was about and hadn’t heard any coverage from other bloggers, but I knew it was a sci-fi spy story and that sounded pretty good. It’s hard to beat a good spy story and this one didn’t disappoint in the least.
Kangaroo is an agent with an unusual ability- he can open a portal to another dimension. This sounds very exciting but in reality it’s mostly just a limitless storage device that other people can’t see or access. He’s average in appearance and tells really terrible jokes at inappropriate times, but he’s an indispensible asset to his super secret spy team and by asset I mean that he’s basically an experiment and he’s constantly monitored by his handlers. Now that I think about it, he’s a slightly more sci-fi version of Chuck Bartowski from the tv series Chuck. Man I loved that show…
Our special agent gets sent on a mandatory vacation to Mars to keep him from being interrogated by the dreaded auditors and being revealed as the weakest link. Of course the vacation doesn’t go smoothly and Kangaroo (aka Evan Rogers) finds himself in the middle of an interplanetary crisis. It starts out with the murder of several passengers and escalates quickly from that point. In between unmanned space walks and murder investigations, Kangaroo finds time for some romantic escapades that involve the purchase of an obscenely expensive bottle of wine. The actual spy part of the story kept me on my toes the whole time! I genuinely had no idea who to suspect or what the motive for the crime could possibly be until it was stated rather clearly near the end of the book. It was unpredictable, with lots of twists and turns and people being framed for crimes they didn’t commit. I have genuine appreciation for plots that I can’t predict and respect their authors even more.
Overall, Waypoint Kangaroo was a very entertaining read- perfect for summer vacations or light reading. There will be at least one sequel to Waypoint Kangaroo and I look forward to seeing how the characters change and what types of trouble Kangaroo will manage to get himself into.