Staccato prose, a choppy narrative, and visceral descriptions grant this dystopian thriller both urgency and a sense of chaos, which contribute to the story’s air of intrigue and confusion. With multiple plot lines weaving throughout the increasingly frenetic tale, which is told from frequently shifting perspectives, it can be hard to keep track of the numerous characters and threats. Alleva rarely dwells on backstory or worldbuilding, leaving much to be explained late in the story, if at all.
Sandy’s maternal instincts serve her well in her efforts to protect her newborn child, and she has a fair amount of internal complexity, but many other characters are opaque or underexplored. For instance, Phil is distilled down to his unique weapons and impressive combat skills, with very little said about his background or purpose. This series opener clearly has ambitious plans to set up a conflict among the Drac with Earth caught in the middle, touching upon tantalizing ideas such as vast underground cities, a manufactured world war, and weapons on the moon, but the focus is always on the immediate action at hand. The mix of violence, horror, and melodrama has a certain gonzo appeal.
Takeaway: This action-packed struggle for survival on a devastated Earth invaded by alien vampires will pull in readers looking for no-holds-barred adventure and cinematic flair.
Great for fans of Jeff VanderMeer’s Annhilation, L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth, John Ringo’s A Hymn Before Battle.
Design and typography: B+
Marketing copy: B