The Boxes

Entrusted by her Uncle Marco to care for 2 strange boxes while he is away, Annie is bothered by his firm instructions to store the boxes apart, and not to ever open them. Her curiosity overwhelms her, and she does exactly what she was told not to do. She unleashes strange mechanical creatures that start messing up the Time continuum.

Here’s an excerpt:

A tall structure now rose up around the box, a three-dimensional grid made from strands of some dark fiber that reflected bright flashes from the ceiling light bulb. There were little ladders and platforms all over it, and dozens of creatures were scurrying up and down them. The structure shuddered precariously with their movement. It went all the way up to the ceiling and back to the wall. How had they done all this so fast? How had they had so many offspring so quickly? Greetings. Welcome. I looked down to see a large one bowing to me from the floor.

The story was a little slow going, but my curiosity about these mechanical thingies kept me reading. What are they? Where did they come from? Are they good or evil? Are they vegetarians? Republican? So I keep reading, and reading, and I’m getting a little nervous because there’s only one page left, and I still don’t know if they are friend or foe.

And then, it ends. Totally unresolved, readers are left to put all the pieces together for themselves. And no, there isn’t a sequel. Readers who favor sci-fi and won’t feel frustrated by an obscure ending will be the ones who’ll enjoy this book.

Additional young adult sci-fi books by this author include:

Interstellar Pig, House of Stairs, and The Green Futures of Tycho (Starscape).

Author biography

But wait! Here’s a second opinion form contributing reviewer Wayne Walker.

The Boxes is written in a very readable and interesting way with a great deal of suspense, so that if children enjoy spine-tingling, creepy-crawly type books, this one would not be too bad IF it were not for all the undesirable qualities displayed in it. Annie has a deplorable homelife and is always at odds with her aunt who is her guardian. Annie practices all kinds of deceit to help a couple of her friends, and her aunt is a heavy smoker. Because of the situation Annie even considers running away. When the creatures ‘worship’ the ‘power,’ it seems to me that Sleater might be taking a backhanded slap at religion in general to show how mindless he considers it to be. Finally, throughout the book, the author uses admittedly bad situations to arouse sympathy for Annie’s growing attitude of rebellion.” I gave it a “NOT RECOMMENDED” rating. Wayne S Walker

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