Saturday, 1 August 2015

Review: Alive

When an author you love comes out with a new book, you can't help but get excited. Especially when that author tries a genre he's never really done before, from a perspective he's never really done before. Sometimes you just need to have faith, settle down, and get read for the ride. And Alive, the first novel in Scott Sigler's Generations trilogy, is one hell of a ride. Seriously, WOW. I couldn't have put it down if I wanted to (and I damn sure didn't want to). Granted, aside from the synopsis– which is under the cover– you don't know much going in. You're not prepared for any of the intense shocks, the heart-pulling emotions, and the level of depth into the minds of those involved. Like the main character and her friends, you literally don't know what will happen next. And I wouldn't have enjoyed it half as much as I did if I the opposite were true.

Gorgeous cover with suiting text and a beautiful model.

A teenage girl awakens to find herself trapped in a coffin. She has no idea who she is, where she is, or how she got there. Fighting her way free brings little relief—she discovers only a room lined with caskets and a handful of equally mystified survivors. Beyond their room lies a corridor filled with bones and dust, but no people . . . and no answers. She knows only one thing about herself—her name, M. Savage, which was engraved on the foot of her coffin—yet she finds herself in charge.

She is not the biggest among them, or the boldest, but for some reason the others trust her. Now, if they’re to have any chance, she must get them to trust each other. Whatever the truth is, she is determined to find it and confront it. If she has to lead, she will make sure they survive. Maybe there’s a way out, a rational explanation, and a fighting chance against the dangers to come.

Or, maybe a reality they cannot comprehend lies just beyond the next turn.

At the end of the book, Sigler kindly asks not to post reviews with spoilers. As an author who thrives on making people insane with surprises, I can respect and honor that... which will make this review a little more difficult (but challenge accepted, Scott!), and significantly shorter.

The first chapter of the novel hooks you like a fish on a line. The present tense, first person POV of main character as she attempts to escape her coffin is realistic and terrifying. I'm not claustrophobic, but even I was grateful that I started reading this book in the middle of the afternoon on an uncrowded bus. Never take things like that for granted, people.

The rest of the book keeps that tone, connecting you with the various characters and their level of anxiety. Everyone is masterfully constructed, provided with personalities and traits that leave us feeling incredibly sympathetic to them and their trials.

And the trials... oh, the trials. Let's just say that I wouldn't want to be in their shoes. The challenges are gritty and harsh. Sure, a lot of Young Adult novels thrive on that, but this is a Scott Sigler book, and Sigler never, ever, ever gives his characters a break. Sure, they have a couple hours to illusion themselves in to safety, then it's back to heart-pounding danger and fierce challenges. Actions have consequences, and choices must be made. The results are almost never ideal, and the weight can be crushing to the shoulders of someone who doesn't know what's going on around her.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. There were a couple points where even I was cringing. But this book is AMAZING. A white-knuckle thrill ride made all the more intense by literally not knowing anything. The visuals are sharp, the characters incredibly detailed and compelling, the struggles very real and deadly, the twists shocking and well imagined.

I'm dying to talk to other readers and authors about this book, to discuss those damn spoilers (you're killing me, Scott!) and tell you exactly why you need this book and need it now, but trust me– you'd hate me if I did that. Venturing into the unknown is part of Alive's foundation, one of the key elements I love so much about it. Honestly, don't read anything but the back blurb of the novel. Don't hunt down spoiler-filled blogs or reviewing sites. And don't be that person who reads the last chapter of a book to see if they like it (yes, I'm looking at you, Kaitlyn). You'll regret it if you do that. I finished this book about two weeks ago, and I'm still reeling from it. Do not miss out on Alive.


No comments:

Post a Comment