Readers are dropped into Kirksberg, Pennsylvania, which mirrors a real-life town in PA, where an alleged UFO was spotted in the 1960s. This alien-obsessed community sets the backdrop for the quick-paced plot filled with eccentric characters. Svetlana and Andrew’s romance quickly moves from a declaration of love to marriage, and while some readers may feel this whirlwind progresses unrealistically fast, others will be swept up in the soulmates’ desire to start their lives together without delay. Several time jumps keep the pace as the story propels forward, sometimes leaving dramatic scenes and conversations up to the reader’s imagination. Catanzarite weaves subtle mystery elements into the background as the tension mounts and builds to engaging and unexpected twists.
Svetlana is a strong protagonist who will do anything to protect the ones she loves—the perfect mix of resilience and wit born out of necessity from her years as an orphan in Russia before starting a new life with her adopted family in America. Readers will bond strongly to Svetlana as she struggles to unravel the secrets of her new family in this sci-fi thriller.
Takeaway: Fans of science fiction mixed with romance and mystery will enjoy this genre-crossing novel.
Great for fans of: Ruthanna Emrys, Michel Faber.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
Kim Catanzarite’s They Will Be Coming for Us holds readers spellbound as it straddles several genres. First and foremost, it’s a love story. But it’s set in a science fiction narrative and reads like a thriller, even though there’s no violence.
The love story introduces the book. It begins with a young woman, Svetlana, or “Sveta,” a Russian adoptee who works in an ice cream shop in a small Pennsylvania town. The town has been overrun by UFO enthusiasts during an annual summer festival that celebrates a supposed 1960s landing of a spacecraft near the town.
During this crazy festival that boasts thousands of people dressed as aliens and sci-fi characters, Sveta meets Andrew Jovian. He helps her when she becomes overwhelmed at the ice cream shop, and the two – somewhat improbably – fall in love at first sight. They immediately become inseparable, and before you know it, she’s introduced to the wealthy Jovian family. Andrew’s father founded an aerospace company that works with NASA, and they’re the town’s “royalty.”
The suspense starts building when Sveta senses something odd about members of the Jovian clan and feels uncomfortable around them, but within months, Sveta and Andrew are married.
The novel’s sci-fi element runs throughout the story with the entire Jovian family’s obsession with stars, space and the night sky, and becomes much more shocking as the chapters fly by. The twists are too good for spoilers, but there’s a tip for astute readers: the family’s name.
The excellent writing draws readers in with its quick clip and snappy dialogue. Catanzarite offers terrific turns of phrase, such as “Her dark eyes have something strong like black coffee brewing in them,” or “I am a fish out of water in frantic search of a pool or puddle I can leap into.”
As it skillfully blends genres, They Will Be Coming for Us offers both quality writing and an irresistible story—a winning combination all around.
A woman marries into a peculiar family that’s obsessed with her pregnancy in this SF novel.
In 1965, the small town of Kirksberg, Pennsylvania, had a famous UFO sighting that the townsfolk celebrate in a big yearly festival. For 23-year-old adoptive sisters Helena and Sveta Peterman, that festival means scooping lots of ice cream at the shop where they work. The sisters are close, especially because their humanitarian mother and father are always traveling, and when Helena eventually leaves Kirksberg to find her biological parents, Sveta feels abandoned. Maybe that’s why she’s less guarded than usual when ice cream customer Andrew Jovian, a 28-year-old man with kind, blue-green eyes, asks her out. Their connection is undeniable, and they quickly marry, and although Sveta’s happy, she’s annoyed by Andrew’s overbearing family. They’re the wealthy owners of Kirksberg telescope maker Starbright International, and they’re relentlessly focused on Sveta’s new pregnancy—so much so that Sveta and Andrew move away to another Starbright location in North Carolina. But circumstances bring the Jovians back into Sveta’s life for reasons that are bizarre and shocking. Sveta soon faces a battle to protect her baby that will require all her bravery and resolve. In her debut novel, Catanzarite builds tension well and uses it for maximum effect. At first, Sveta’s in-laws merely seem to lack social skills, but as the novel goes on, their agenda becomes clearer and more frightening, especially after Sveta learns how the aforementioned spaceship sighting connects with Starbright’s goals. The author also skillfully handles Sveta’s characterization, making her vulnerability plausible in the absence of her sister and parents. Similarly, the protagonist’s fierce maternal love helps to explain how she’s able to gather the courage to stand up against powerful forces.
Well-constructed science fiction with an admirable heroine and a chilling premise.
Nuanced and compelling… Thoroughly addictive.
A convoluted plot, excellent worldbuilding, and relentless suspense mark this excellent SF thriller, the first in the Jovian Duology, by debut author Catanzarite. It’s love at first sight for the lovely Svetlana Peterman when she meets the handsome Andrew Jovian, a young astronomer who works for Starbright International, the aerospace company his wealthy parents own. The couple soon gets married, making their home Kirksberg, Pennsylvania, a small-town famous for a UFO sighting that occurred in the 1960s.
But soon, Andrew’s family begins to get on Svetlana’s nerves, with their prying behavior and strangeness. Unexpected pregnancy brings a ray of happiness in Svetlana’s life. But fate has other plans. Catanzarite sets a breakneck pace as Svetlana discovers dangerous secrets about the Jovians that will change her child’s fate forever. She creates tangible suspense throughout the deep and multilayered mystery, cleverly teasing out the characters’ desires and motivations, turning what at first appears to be a straightforward suspense tale into a gripping page-turner.
The fully fleshed-out characters, especially Svetlana and Andrew, haunted by their own demons, leap off the pages. The sensitive portrayal of Svetlana’s anguish as a mother will resonate with many. The plot moves fast and the well-wrought worldbuilding details bring the ambiguity surrounding the quiet town of Ashbury Falls to life.
High tension, abundance of intrigue, and shocking twists make the pages fly as the narrative builds to a climax which, though thoroughly satisfying, will leave readers eager for the next installment in the series. This is a stunner.