Narrator: Nicola Barber
Series: The Chronicles of the Invaders #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 11 February 2014
Length: 14 hrs and 33 mins
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
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The Earth has been invaded by the Illyri, a beautiful, civilized, yet ruthless alien race.
Humanity has been conquered, but still it fights the invaders. The Resistance grows stronger, for it is the young people of Earth who battle the Illyri.
Syl Hellais, conceived among the stars, is the oldest alien child on Earth, the first to reach 16 years of age. Her father is one of the rulers of the planet. Her future is assured. And Syl has hidden gifts, powers that even she doesn't yet fully understand.
But all is not as it seems. Secret experiments are being conducted on humans, the Illyri are at war among themselves, and the sinister Nairene Sisterhood has arrived on Earth, hungry for new blood. When Syl helps a pair of young Resistance fighters to escape execution, she finds herself sentenced to death, pursued by her own kind, and risks breaking the greatest taboo of her race by falling in love with a human.
Now the hunter has become the hunted, and the predators become prey.
And as Syl Hellais is about to learn, the real invasion has not yet even begun....
©2014 Bad Dog Books Limited and Jennifer Ridyard (P)2014 Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Earth has been conquered with little bloodshed and is now ruled by a race of beautiful humanoids. Their control is seemingly schizophrenic, trying desperately to avoid loss of life, then being brutally cruel and even wiping out entire cities in retribution. The humans have not given up their planet and continue an unceasing campaign of resistance and rebellion.
The Illyri invaders have also conquered many different alien races and use them as servants and soldiers. But they have never met aliens so similar to themselves, nor as intellectually advanced as the human race. The Illyri are clearly far ahead of the humans technologically, but that is not much of a long term advantage. They are both fascinated and wary of the humans.
Syl is the daughter of the Alien governor of Earth. Born in transit to Earth, she is Illyri, but raised on Earth and has a great affinity for humans. Her curiosity catches her in a vast web of conflict and lies, both from her people and the aliens; and she doesn’t know who to trust.
Conquest is a fast paced story of action balanced with teenage romance and otherworldly technology. The teenage heroes are willing to do the right thing when their adult counterparts are not. The gentle Illyri are a contradiction, not wanting to harm the humans, but needing to put down the endless insurgencies, sometimes violently. The reason becomes clear at the end and would spoil the plot to reveal it here.
This is a well-crafted story with rich characters and believable technology. There is a hint of Dune in the novel, but more of nod than any kind of derivative story. Perhaps because there are teenagers as the main characters, you could call it a young adult novel. But those are often arbitrary labels and Conquest should appeal to any SciFi lover, especial those who enjoy space opera.
The book is performed by Nicola Barber. There are many very good narrators working today, but Nicola stands above even this excellent crowd. She is magnificent, changing accents and voices with ease, male and female easy discernible. Her tone and pacing is spot on, moving the action forward, slowing when necessary and speeding up during the action, emotion oozing from her voice. You will want to follow this talented performer and listen to other books by her. Just great.
Conquest is an enjoyable listen with a terrific performance. It doesn’t exactly break new ground plot-wise, but has well developed characters that are easy to like (and hate) with an exciting backdrop of war and intrigue. The novel wraps up the immediate action nicely but also starts the transition to the next volume.
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