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The Softwire: Virus On Orbis 1

P J Haarsma

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (3 Reviews)
Book Details

Publisher : Candlewick Press

Published : 2006

Copyright : P J Haarsma 2006

ISBN-10 : PB 0-76363-638-X
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-76363-638-8

Publisher's Write-Up

When the children on the seed ship, Renaissance, are orphaned in outer space, thirteen-year-old JT and his sister Ketheria are forced to work as knudniks on the Rings of Orbis. Instead of beginning the new and better life he had hoped for, JT and his sister spend their days sifting through trash for their new Guarantor.

But JT soon discovers that he is the first human Softwire - he has a special gift that allows him to enter any computer with his mind. And when the central computer on Orbis mysteriously malfunctions, the Citizens point their fingers at the newcomers, especially the Softwire. Before long, JT is embroiled in a struggle between the Keepers who rule Orbis and the Trading Council, which wants him dead.

As he learns to harness his newfound ability, JT uncovers a virus wreaking havoc inside the computer. Now he must convince the powers that be on Orbis that the virus is real before they make war on each other and destroy his new home - along with JT's dream of a better life.

In the first episode of The Softwire, newcomer PJ Haarsma launches readers into an extraordinary new universe of power, intrigue, and cyber-fuelled adventure.

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Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by Denise Gary (161207) Rating (9/10)
Review by Susanne (300907) Rating (9/10)
Review by Debbie (300907) Rating (9/10)

Review by Denise Gary
Rating 9/10
The Softwire: Virus on Orbis 1 revolves around an imaginative world of computers, fantasy creatures, kids banding together in crisis, and a boy struggling to find his purpose in life amid adversity. It includes themes of facing fears, importance of "family," kindness versus cruelty, self-reliance and the power of a positive attitude. What more can you ask for in a young adult reader?

The main character is immediately appealing. In JT, the author has found the voice for all children struggling to deal with self-consciousness towards their unique qualities. Most children can identify with this, but especially kids who face challenges. For this reason, the book has a strong drawing power for youngsters who have difficulty reading. Just like the "hero" in the book, they usually feel less worthy. Further enhancing the appeal for reluctant readers is the fact that there are no long, drawn-out descriptions to drag the story down. The book gives enough information to spark the imagination, but does not overdo it. Rather, the action moves along at a fast clip from the outset, building and building to the exciting and surprising ending.

The author has created Rings of Orbis, a free online videogame based on The Softwire book series, to grab the attention of those kids who would never pick up a book for recreation. Answers to questions in the game are found within the book, encouraging the players to read. What an innovative idea for improving literacy among children!

The Softwire: Virus on Orbis 1 is the perfect book to give kids who could benefit from a strong protagonist who overcomes adversity with grace and perseverance. And it's a fun read for adults as well.
Denise Gary (16th December 2007)

Review by Susanne
Rating 9/10
The Softwire: Virus on Orbis 1 is the first of a science fiction series for children ages 9-12.

13 year old Johnny Turnbull, or short, JT, his younger sister Ketheria, and two hundred of other children grew up on a spaceship called Renaissance which is on its way to the Rings of Orbis. There are no adults on board, since they all died due to a technical accident.

Upon arrival the kids have to find out that they will have to work as virtual slaves to repay their parent's debt for bringing them to Orbis. JT is identified as the first human Softwire, meaning he can enter a computer just with his mind. He is therefore both singled out by most of the other children, as well as feared by the majority of the citizens of Orbis 1. When the Central Computer on Orbis malfunctions, the officials blame JT. But in the end, his abilities prove to be vital for the survival of everyone on the Rings of Orbis.

The Softwire: Virus on Orbis 1 is one of those rare books which both children and adults will love. The new world that PJ Haarsma created is complex but he does not go into lengthy technical descriptions. This leaves a lot of things up to the imagination of the reader.

JT's story quickly draws you in and the main characters are very believable. The book is fast-paced and manages not only to keep that pace but also offers some unexpected and thrilling twists in the end. It touches upon a variety of topics like the importance of family, coping with change and standing up for one's beliefs. Any child or young adult will leave the characters wanting more.
Susanne (30th September 2007)

Review by Debbie
Rating 9/10
This book written by PJ Haarsma is the first in a series of books. Defiantly a great book for young teens to read. It is a fast paced Sci-Fi, with just the right amount of descriptiveness not to bore the reader. My kids and I really enjoyed the book and can't wait for the next one in the series.

The Softwire: Virus On Orbis 1 is about a 13 year old boy named Johnny Turnbull, who was born on a spaceship with 200 other children. After their parents died in their sleepers, the children were born in two groups. The first group now 13 and a second group being 7. Johnny is the only one with a sibling. The children were raised by a computer they call Mother.

When they reach their destination on Orbis 1 they find out they have to work to pay off their parent's debt for the trip there. Johnny, who can enter a computer with his mind, just wants to be a normal kid, but learns he is the only human with this ability. He is called a Softwire. When the computer starts acting up Johnny is blamed for it. He has to prove to the alien citizens that he didn't do it, and in the process, finds out about someones plans to take over control of Orbis 1.
Debbie (30th September 2007)

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