Clem is a dog with a secret: he is an alien from outer space. Every morning he digs out of his yard to join his fellow Kaxians. So far, his humans have just filled in the holes, so he should be fine, right? But Clem must keep his secret. No humans can know that dogs are aliens. This gets difficult when Clem's latent psi abilities start to appear!
Dog aliens can't wait for their humans to leave them home alone. That's the only time they can do their covert intergalactic trading duties. The little dogs are aliens, too, but they are from a rival planet called Nique, and anyway, who cares about them?
There is a happy ending, and no dogs or humans are harmed in the story, although there are scary parts and sad parts. The dog tells the story!
When I got this I had no idea that it was aimed at children as nobody seems to have shelved it that way, so I was a bit annoyed to discover that when I opened the book to read it. I found myself wondering as I read the first few chapters if this kind of story would actually engage kids as it seems quite a complicated story with quite a few early info dumps.
There are two gangs of dogs who have both come to this planet to mine something called Jex. I'm still not clear on what that actually is but our Kaxian heroes are trying to mine it while a rival gang of dogs from Nique also want it and don't respect the idea that the Kaxians were there first and have claimed it. You wonder why they don't just pool resources and share the damn stuff but hey, that's just me. Every time the Kaxians dig the Niques try to steal it. The Kaxians try to get what they mine back to the vehicle collecting it. OK is there a dog driving it? And in the middle of LA is nobody seeing teams of dogs going back and forward to a vehicle dumping this stuff? Does the vehicle fly away? In the early part of the book there was info dumps about the planets and how dogs came to be there but nothing about the logistics of the day to day operations or what Jex is and why they need it.
What about the dog owners? The only one that seems to notice that his dog escapes and spends every day away is Clem's owner, who has owned Clem's family before him. Would he then just take a misbehaving pup out and dump it in the wild to die??? Surely he would at least have taken it to somewhere where it could be trained and rehomed. I found that aspect puzzling. Why weren't there tons of dog catchers rounding up all these dogs when they exited their mining operations? How did Clem's parents manage to mine before him without that same owner catching them? Why weren't there shorter shifts to stop the dog owners realising they had got out?
I don't think I'd say that there was anything wrong with what I read of this book. I just felt that it spent a lot of time giving a background history yet seemed to skip over the points that a reader like me wants to know more about. If the book is about mining Jex I want to know about what it is and does. What is happening back on their planet that they need it so bad? How many still live there if generations of dogs are mining on a foreign world? Who controls them? What stops the ones born on earth saying they don't want to do this and want to be an earth pet? I just wanted to know more than was shared.
It didn't really appeal to me personally but you just have to love the cover!
Read February 2018
2 stars DNF