Blake’s prose and dialogue are occasionally stiff or stilted: “After watching his extraordinarily athletic leader leap from the chopper, Sahan promptly detached his harness from the landing gear, and deftly flew out of the way.” These wordy passages can slow down otherwise well-written scenes. The pacing is also stymied by the investigation tracking Juan in the book’s first half, as the team is far behind what readers already know and never faced with challenging decisions, so suspense is diminished.
Despite these disruptions, Blake balances moral quandaries with mysteries and exciting action sequences, including memorable scenes involving helicopters, fighter jets, and flying Alizerins. This debut recalls classic sci-fi with a blockbuster plot and a strong moral center, and is updated for modern readers with earnest multiethnicity (including among the Alizerins, whose culture “is predicated on diversity and open, multiracial and gender interaction”). This story will find a home with readers of space fantasies full of beautiful aliens and dramatic action.
Takeaway: This character-driven tale of aliens landing on Earth will please readers of classic space fantasies.
Great for fans of Frederik Pohl’s Gateway, Whitley Strieber’s The Greys
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A