Second in the Series Brings More Laughter

Image credit: Penguin Random House

Elara Adele Vaughn was supposed to be starting her second year at the Seven Systems School of Terraforming Sciences and Arts (STS for short).
The previous school year was filled with extremely dangerous events, some of which could have easily killed everyone at the school (all of them were caused by Elara and her friends). Now, Elara wants to try and have a “normal” school year where she can just learn about making planets without any interference.
Despite having all of the equipment she needed, nothing would have prepared Elara for this school year.
The second book in the series, “Project Terra Bites Back” by Landry Q. Walker is a very bizarre book that’s a mix of real science, science fiction, and comedy. Although the science of terraforming is real, the characters are very strange. Elara is a normal human with purple hair, but some of the other students at STS are a different story.
Elara’s friends include Beezle (a blue-skinned girl who’s connected to a hive mind and is seemingly always happy), Sabik (a boy with four arms who always sounds like he’s the most important person in the galaxy), Knot (a stone monster with a squeaky voice who loves clouds), and Clare (an immobile yellow sponge who can somehow save everybody… again).
When Elara gets off the shuttle that leads to the school, she expects to arrive on Paragon — the beautiful planet where STS is located — But instead, she finds herself in a huge spaceship where the staff is made entirely of robots.
Last year, Nebulina — the catlike former headmistress of STS — tried to bring back the planet of the evil Frils from where they were banished in the timestream. Therefore, everyone decided that it would be safer to have their kids taught by robots so no one in the schools could try that again.
Elara learns that, because of Nebulina and everything else that happened during the previous school year, STS was closed down. The school was replaced with several schoolships (as the spaceships were called), all run by robots that were programmed only for teaching.
The headmistress in the schoolship Elara is attending classes in is just a hologram of a woman (Elara thinks she’s more like a “personal data assistant” than a headmistress).
Elara’s classes are practically the same as they were at STS. Most of them are on terraforming, but there are some new ones that have more to do with survival.
All of the staff on board say that their main goal is to keep the students “safe”, but Elara thinks that there’s more to the schoolship than meets the eye.
Elara might just be having these negative thoughts because of all the stress she’s experiencing from the side effects of swallowing Nebulina’s terraforming marble. After all, none of her classmates seem to notice anything strange — not even when the teachers start mutating tiny kittens (this would have been against the rules at STS, where the motto was “Do no harm”).
Meanwhile, she has to figure out how to understand what the terraforming energy coming from her hands is.
Soon, Elara realizes that her classmates don’t see anything wrong with the school because they’re all hypnotized. The only reason she wasn’t was because of the terraforming marble.
After an “incident” with Mister Floofyface, Knot’s tiny kitten that was turned into a giant monster, the headmistress tells Elara that any students who aren’t hypnotized and kept “safe” are eliminated.
Elara has to find a way to , regain her friends’ trust, and figure out who is hypnotizing everyone — and why.
“Project Terra Bites Back” is definitely a very exciting book, and you don’t have to be a fan of science fiction to enjoy it.
There was a good deal of humor in the book, most of it coming from Beezle and the headmistress once she was broken; instead of asking “how may I be of assistance?” like she did before she was broken, she would randomly say things like “the pudding is on the moon”.
The book isn’t too hard to understand without reading the first one, since gives some information on who all the characters are and the setting they’re in. It would still be a good idea to read the first book, “Project Terra: Crash Course”, first. I would recommend this book for anyone ages 8 and up.