Narrator: Somerset Hamilton
Series: Aliens #1
on 12 October 2016
Genres: Science Fiction
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Stevie and Maison have a great friendship where they travel back and forth between the Overworld and the human world. Maison has earned some fame for battling off the mobs at her school, but the attention has also brought about cyberbullies DestinyIsChoice123 and TheVampireDragon555, who have hacked her computer and discovered the portal! Now, through complex coding, the cyberbullies have turned the Overworld into eternal night and unleashed a pack of zombies, allowing their griefing to reach a whole new level.
Things become even worse when DestinyIsChoice123 and TheVampireDragon555 are bitten and turn into zombies themselves. Because they're human and not Minecraft characters, they have all the powers of zombies while retaining their intelligence, creating a new breed of zombies. TheVampireDragon555 is even able to control and rule over the zombies, letting him raise his own army.
Stevie and Maison run for the village to warn everyone, but it's too late: All the villagers have been turned into zombies. In the midst of the eternal night, they'll have to fight off zombies and find supplies to make potions to save the villagers and the Overworld.
©2015 Danica Davidson (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
This is a very fast paced space adventure with humans battling it out with more than one alien race. Jack Munroe doesn’t start off as the captain of the Uhuru (thanks for that nod to Star Trek) but things go wrong early on for the original captain, Monique d’Auberge. The Polish engineer, Max Piakowski, becomes Jack’s wingman as they quickly assess these new predator aliens and come up with a game plan.
In many ways, this story felt like a really long episode of Star Trek meets Battlestar Galactica meets Futurama. Jack often acts like Captain Kirk in Star Trek but the aliens can be pretty vicious like the Cylons in Battlestar Galacitica. Meanwhile, there are some silly shenanigans and stubborn idiocy by bureaucrats as I would expect in Futurama.
Most of the time I liked the quick nature of the story but sometimes I did get fatigued and wanted a moment to reflect on things or clarify the current score. Also there are a ton of characters in this story. Honestly, I lost track of nearly everyone. I believe there’s no less than 3 alien species introduced and yet I had trouble keeping the individual alien characters separate as well. I do recall Destanu, the first alien they communicate with, and he’s of the Rizen aliens.
The author did do a great job of having both men and women play important roles, even if they messed up. The characters, in general, were flawed and very human. They weren’t all heroes and some made big mistakes. The crew starts off small – only 6. Jack, Monique, Max, Gail (pilot), Hercule (comet expert), and Hortense (biologist). Plenty of other characters are drawn in along the way.
Early on, a chunk of the crew accurately assess the first aliens as predators by simply taking note of their physiology – claws, muscles, teeth, aggressive stances, etc. Initially, I really liked that Jack and his posse acknowledged that they had not stumbled into altruistic morally advanced aliens, but rather predators who were seeking to expand their territory. However, this then becomes the backbone of the story, and in a rather simplified manner. After all, us humans are apex predators and yet we can make alliances and seek something more than territory and resources. So over all, I would have liked more depth and to have the predator aspect toned down.
It’s a fun listen with plenty of action and interesting characters. If you’re looking for a simple humans versus aliens story, then this would be a fun choice.
The Narration: In many ways, Somerset Hamilton did a good job at narrating this book. His character voices were all distinct and his female voices, for the most part, were believable. There were no technical issues with the recording. However, Hamilton does such a realistic job with the various accents that I often found myself trying to figure out what the character just said in that thick (Belgian, Russian, Polish, etc.) accent instead of paying attention to the tale. I would have liked this better if the accents were toned down a bit.