The novel starts strong; an early turning point and rising action hint at where you're headed but spools out enough mystery to keep the pages turning. Overall, fairly well plotted, but with a few loose ends - which allows, conveniently enough, for a third novel in the series, Death Brings Victory. It is adult themed, although nothing objectionable language-wise; however there are quite a few "senseless" deaths (not by Aston's hand) but this is part of the novel's subtle theme and is a struggle for the protagonist. Still, probably more YA than MG if you're thinking it might be good for the kids.
I'd recommend this series to anyone interested in adventure, even if space isn't your preferred setting. The science isn't intense, but the fiction is. I liked Hunter's collection of short stories, Dead or Alive: An Aston West Collection, (enough to publish them via ResAliens Press!), but his novels (of which I haven't published any) allow the author's storytelling skills to really shine, in my opinion. I'd give it something close to an 8 out of 10.
Heroes Die Young by T. M. Hunter
Published by Champaign Books (2010)
Can't remember if I bought this or won it or snagged it free during an Amazon promo. Either way, you know me well enough by now to know that I try to say what I think whether the book was written by a friend or not. But so you know, Mr. Hunter is a friend. :)