The 4 Powers of Daren Saner, by Michael Oehley

‘Well, here we are, I suppose.’
‘I guess this is it.’
‘Should we even be doing this?’ My heart was thumping in my chest as I approached the silver door on corridor 12K. My two friends were trembling beside me. In Sela’s case, it was from excitement, while Boron was just plain nervous. we were on a forbidden corridor, about to break into a forbidden room. I knew what we were doing was wrong, but it didn’t feel as if we had a choice.

Daren lives on a spaceship which left the home planet, Osheanus, over 900 years earlier in search of another inhabitable planet. The spaceship has a definable caste system and Daren is the product of a union that should never have happened. This makes him something of an outcast. He has one friend, Sela who is also an outcast and a hanger-on called Boron. They accept a dare to venture into a forbidden part of the ship, and set in motion events that may be the end of their world. As if that’s not enough for Daren to comprehend, it seems his actions have connected him with the past, with Periapoli, an ancient city back on Osheanus. But he is not without resources. If only he can learn to marshal and control his powers in time.

What do you do if you really want to write about the future, but you also love the past? Put them both in the same novel! That’s what Michael Oehley has done in The Four Powers of Daren Saner. The past and future are at once very different and very similar. There are good people and there are foolish people. There are impossible situations and outlandish beliefs. Daren’s navigation through both worlds is also a journey of self-discovery as he grows beyond the labels he has been given. Daren speaks in his own voice, first person, in chapters where he is Daren Saner of the future, and also when he is Daren Saredes, living in Periapoli. There are themes of friendship, self-belief, belief systems, trust, growth, all wrapped in a inter-era adventure. Recommended for upper-primary, early-secondary readers.

The Four Powers of Daren Saner

The Four Powers of Daren Saner, Michael Oehley,
Scholastic NZ 2010
ISBN: 9781869439453

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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