This fun sci-fi adventure takes place in a future in which the Earth has had alien contact. Twenty-five years before, the “Givers” came and built ladders into space — literally ladders. On top of each of the four Ladders (which would more aptly be named Elevators after the main form of transport, but ‘Elevatortop’ doesn’t have the same ring to it), there are space stations. The only problem? The way the station is constructed requires that the solar power web be maintained by highly trained children. So, periodically, children are sent to the Laddertop Academy to train and test for the opportunity to go up into space. Two best friends, Azure and Roberta (Robbie), have been selected to try to get to Laddertop. Azure is gung-ho, while Robbie is more reserved, worried about leaving her younger sisters. Volume 1 chronicles their selection and training process while revealing the mysteries of the Laddertop program and the aliens who built the Ladders.
The writing is all that you would expect from Orson Scott Card, and now we get two Cards. Orson Scott is joined by his daughter Emily in writing this work. It is fast paced and intriguing from the start. The strong, smart female characters are a blast to read about, and their real personalities are refreshing. The mystery of the Laddertop builds throughout the book with intriguing tidbits coming up here and there. When the book ended, I was disappointed that I couldn’t immediately pick up the next volume.
The artwork is manga style, although a little less flamboyant than some Japanese manga can be. This is because Ibardolaza subtly blends a little American-style of art into the picture. The drawings of the characters are expressive with rich backgrounds, and the technology depicted is fascinating.
Overall, Laddertop is a great science fiction romp in an interesting future world. The collaboration between father and daughter is definitely a winner, and I hope that it continues its success into the next volume. Laddertop was recently placed on YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels List 2012 and will be enjoyed by many different types of readers from sci-fi addicts to adventure fans.