I’ve recently read Beyond Corista, which is a science fiction YA novel by Robert Elmer. It’s the third book in The Shadowside Trilogy; I think Elmer did a pretty good job of making it quite possible to read book three without having read the first two. However, I’m sure it would make a lot more sense if I had read the first two!
The novel is about a girl named Oriannon on a planet called Corista. In the preceding novels there has been a kind of civil war that has killed off most of the planet’s ruling party, with the exception of Oriannon’s father. Oriannon and her two friends, Margus and Wist, are aboard a spaceship along with her badly injured dad and their enemy, the woman who spearheaded the uprising. Oriannon’s mission is to pass news of the uprising on to the Way Stations that orbit the planet. She is to warn them of the alien race that is behind Corista’s problems and whose goal is to wipe out the Way Stations as well. But one Way Station completely disappears before they get to it, they barely escape with their lives from the second, and the third is so into peace and unity that they ignore the message. With the alien race on their heels, Oriannon and her friends (along with the enemy in her own spaceship) have difficulty getting anyone to listen.
I’d recommend this novel to teens, with the caveat that they should start with the first book!
Here are the opening paragraphs:
“What’s going on?” Just after impact, fifteen-year-old Oriannon Hightower of Nyssa pulled herself hand over hand out of the back room of the shuttle, making her way forward to where her friend Margus Leek had been thrown to the floor in the control room. Eye-watering black smoke made her choke on her words and gasp for breath before a burst of chilling argonite gas snuffed the fire out.
“Did we hit a mine?” she asked.
Their spacecraft shuddered and tipped to the side. Gravity stabilizers must have taken a hit.
“You mean, you don’t know?” came a low, mocking voice from the back of the control room. Huddled in the corner, a defiant Sola Minnik waved her arms for balance as an even larger explosion ripped through the underbelly of the craft and the overhead lights flickered out. The darkness made no difference to a blind woman, however.
Oriannon ignored Sola’s question and glanced up at the Pilot Stone–which still glowed a faint gold and blue from its place next to the directional displays. The array of multicolored screens still glowed steady as well, taking their coordinates from the Stone. Or so Oriannon assumed.
Robert Elmer is the author of dozens of Christian books for young readers, ranging from science fiction and fantasy to historical novels.