Sal & Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
Source : Library Book
TL;DR : Cute and Fantastic and I loved it
- So my initial disclaimer is that anything that has to do with a sick infant is either going to swing me into ‘hate’ or ‘love’. Clearly, I went ‘love’ if you read my intro but the storyline with little Iggy had me sick with worry. I had so loved the story up to the point of Iggy’s introduction and I enjoyed it after that I was anxious that the story would be ruined for me. I simply cannot handle loss of a child/infant as a plot device, especially when it’s done badly. So I have to note that the storyline in this aspect was just pure catnip for me.
- Right, so onto my other thoughts. This one is very hard to put my finger down on if I was to describe it. Unlike some of the other books where you have a classic quest situation this is simply Sal learning his abilities, finding new friends, and just being awesome. The story does heavily use his magical ‘relaxing’ ability but the plot kind of meanders before actually making waves in the last third. I think that deviation from the classic quest narrative is what made this work so great for me.
- The characters as well were fantastically done. They aren’t anything new. Sal is your confident but flawed protagonist and Gabi is every type-A girl ever (I see you Gabi my girl). But they’re written in an engaging way that, even though it’s meant for kids, it comes across so well to an adult. It didn’t feel forced and it didn’t feel cardboard cutout like these characters often can. There was some magic to them that made them work.
- I also adored the subtle low-key science-fiction element to this. I’m not going to spoil anything about that, but it was refreshing after reading so many of these imprint books to get some actual SF content! Yes, thank you and can I have some more?
All and all I loved this. I was actually sad when it ended and I cannot wait to read the second book. I’m looking forward to actually buying my own copy and annotating it up before getting that second book. It stands out as a great book from this line, side by side with Tristan Strong. If you want to pick up any of them this is one of the first ones I’d recommend.