Monday, April 18, 2016

Book Review: Alight by Scott Sigler

Title: Alight (The Generations Trilogy #2)
Author: Scott Sigler
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 448
Add to Goodreads
Review for book 1

M. Savage—or Em, as she is called—has made a bewildering and ominous discovery. She and the other young people she was chosen to lead awoke in strange coffins with no memory of their names or their pasts. They faced an empty, unknown place of twisting tunnels and human bones. With only one another to depend on, they searched for answers and found the truth about their terrifying fate. Confronted by a monstrous enemy, they vowed never to surrender—and, by any means, to survive.

The planet Omeyocan may be the sanctuary Em and her comrades seek. But the planet for which they were created turns out not to be a pristine, virgin world. Vestiges of a lost civilization testify to a horrifying past that may yet repeat itself. And when a new enemy creeps from the jungle shadows, Em and her young refugees learn there’s nowhere left to run. They face a simple choice: fight or die.

In the midst of this desperate struggle, their unity is compromised from within—and a dangerous zealot devoted to a bloodthirsty god moves to usurp Em’s command, threatening to lead them all down a path to violent doom.

I read Alive last year without knowing anything, which is how the book was meant to be read, and I came out with my mind totally blown! While Alive kept the reader totally in the dark about every single thing that happened until the end, Alight is much more transparent in the continuation of Em's story. That doesn't make this one any less amazing, though!

**Spoilers for book 1**

Alight picks up right after Alive leaves off, with Em and her group approaching the planet Omeyocan in their stolen shuttle. Once they land, they quickly realize that their situation is becoming more and more dire and the group is pushed to new lengths in order to save themselves. These teenagers are put through hell in Alight. Not only are outside forces making their lives pretty difficult, but there are also internal struggles that threaten to rip them apart! In Alight, each character is delved into more deeply as is their precarious situation and their new surroundings.

Em continues to be an amazing, selfless character who is most concerned with the well being of the people she has been chosen to lead. She is incredibly brave, sometimes to the point of recklessness. Throughout this book Em learns more about herself and the world her creator came from, and decisions have to be made, forcing Em to grow up incredibly quickly. Not only does Em have to grapple with her past and current selves and how they fit together, but she is also trying to navigate her feelings for not one, but two of the boys she woke up with.

I usually prefer my books with a little romance, but here it felt kind of unnecessary. The two love interests, Bishop and O'Malley are just about as different as two people can be, as are her reasons for having feelings for each. Both characters were amazing, don't get me wrong! I just didn't quite understand exactly why she had romantic feelings for either of them apart from (maybe?) raging hormones, having was born into an adult body. Luckily, the triangle bit of the romance is completely worked out by the end of Alight, so I don't think we'll have to deal with anymore of that.

A lot of people complained that Alive was a book about people walking. Alight is not that. This book is almost non-stop action from start to finish. The poor kids in this book cannot get a break for a second. There are multiple enemies working against them from the moment their ship lands - the adults, the planet itself and its inhabitants, as well as Aramovsky. (I can confidently say Aramovsky is one of my favorite villains ever.) Discoveries are made almost constantly and the mysteries seem to be unending.

The setting of Alight is also fascinating! The kids land on Omeyocan with absolutely no information about the history of the planet, which has obviously been inhabited before, but appears to be totally abandoned. I found the whole thing to be incredibly unsettling! Everything definitely gave off a very Mayan vibe and I don't know if you've ever seen Apocalypto, but no thanks.

With so many popular series suffering from second book syndrome, I thought Alight was breath of fresh air and I even enjoyed it slightly more than Alive. Did I think the romance needed to be there? No. But I didn't feel that it took away from the book either. Fair warning, this did end with a cliffhanger. The good news is book three comes out in just a few months! Alight was a solid second book with an amazing setting, some great character growth, and a quick moving plot. If you're a fan of dystopian fiction, this is a series you do not want to miss!