Alienation – Jon S. Lewis

Posted: February 23, 2012 in Book Reviews
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AlienationAllow me to begin by pointing out that I have yet to read Invasion, the first book in the CHAOS series.  I’m going to assume that, once I read that, this book will make more sense.  That said, I love the fact that the book doesn’t begin with a chapter or two of backstory.  There’s action and character development before Lewis gives even a full paragraph to the events of the previous book.  Memories come up naturally in the main character’s train of thought and observations, not in an awkward info-dump that would bore people familiar with the first book.  I appreciate that Lewis realizes that some readers may be diving into the middle of the story and takes the time to help us get acquainted with his character and unique world without alienating his loyal readers.  (I’m very sorry about that horrible pun there.  Sometimes I just can’t help myself.)

Speaking of Lewis’ unique world – this part confused me.  Unless I’m missing something (which I probably am, since I won’t have a chance to get the first book until Friday), jet packs are a thing in this book’s universe.  They’ve been a thing since World War II.  When I first started reading and realized that it wasn’t supposed to take place in some future world, I did a bit of a double take.  Once I got over my initial surprise, accepting the jet packs, hoverboards, and robots was easy.  It fascinated me.  Sci-fi tech just lights something in my mind.  If hoverboards are, indeed, a possibility, what else could people create?  Could that lead to landspeeders like the ones in Star Wars?  As long as Gungans never make an entrance, that would be awesome!  But I digress.  The advanced technology also explained how anyone in this ‘verse would think that Earth could stand a chance against technologically advanced super-monster aliens.

That’s right – aliens.  Of course there are aliens; it’s right there in the title.  The title has two purposes, the second of which I’ll get to in a moment.  The first, most obvious reason is the aliens.  Apparently, in the first book, aliens invaded.  The Earth suddenly met some of the other inhabitants of the galaxy.  Some are friendly; some are evil.  The evil ones, the Thule, are shape-shifters bent on destroying humanity to make Earth their new home world.  Several other kinds of alien life forms are visiting Earth, as well, but most of the others are actually helping humans.  The science of whether or not aliens would survive on Earth is barely mentioned.  Aliens simply exist in this universe.  Thankfully, Lewis avoids the pitfall that has ruined many good books – too much information.

Here’s what I loved about this book: No info-dumps.  There were no major ones for backstory and none for boring data.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Lewis had everything figured out about the boring bits.  Maybe he even has it written down somewhere in a manuscript.  Or maybe he saw a future of aliens trying to exterminate us and he’s trying to warn us without sounding like a crazy person.  (Oddly enough, I tend to assume that about pretty much every well-written sci-fi/fantasy book I read.  What if…?)

Okay, for the second reason for the title.  Lewis’ main character, Colt McAlister, loses most of the people he loves in the first book (it’s not a spoiler if it’s on the back cover blurb).  By the time Alienation really gets going, he’s built himself a small network of friends and family.  Within a few days, he discovers reasons to distrust most of them and gets in situations that push the rest of them away from him.  He truly is alienated.  He needs to learn who he can trust.  If he chooses the wrong person, he dies.

The stakes are high and the action is fast-paced.  One of the supporting characters is a “real-life” comic book hero.  The world is infused with aliens and futuristic technology.  This is the perfect story for teenagers, especially boys.  I give it 3.5 stars.  I have a feeling that, once I read Invasion, that rating will change to 4.5 stars.  Enjoy.

  1. Their magical creatures ❤

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