Saturday, April 16, 2016

Alight (A Trilogy x2)

Pro: An excellent second installment in the trilogy
Con: Trouble with some descriptions, but maybe that's just me. I also wish the covers were better.

The Bottom Line: I'm loving these books and I'm super excited that the next one comes out in October!

While I truly enjoyed the first book and had a blast with this second one, I'm still not sure how it made it into the Teen section given the amount of violence. I guess publishers are letting up and realizing teens aren't as innocent as they've always thought (heck, I watched Aliens at age 10 and loved it). The Hunger Games actually didn't have a lot of violence at all, as most characters died off screen. The Maze Runner definitely kicked it up a notch, particularly in The Scorch Trials, but Scott Sigler's Generations Trilogy is a whole new ball of wax.

Still, if you or your teen has read the other two trilogies and some of the other various dystopian, survival-style books out there, then no big deal.

Em and the others have landed on the planet Omeyocan. They discover a jungle and a massive city – that may at one point have been two cities. But the problem now is food. They only have a limited amount before they starve. Aramovsky isn't above scheming and whispering in order to subvert Em's position as leader. But what might be most dangerous of all is that they aren't alone on this planet. Something knows they are here...

Oh boy, what a ride! Sigler knows how to pen a story brimming over with excitement, anxiousness, and high-strung emotions of every kind. I think I had to put the book down and stop reading a few times just to take a break and regroup. He brings you everything from death to life to love to let's-blow-some-shit-up. So many times you hope Em might just waste Aramovsky, but she doesn't since she knows that would be a poor choice as a leader. Other times you might hope she figures out what to say, but being who she is she just can't. She has to battle with what Matilda was and how those thoughts occasionally invade her brain, and remind herself that she is her own person – not Matilda. It makes for some interesting internal struggles.

There is a bit of a love triangle, but I love how Sigler handled that too. Instead of having Em agonize over it she realizes now is not the time to worry about it, and then Sigler takes care of the problem by yanking things up from under Em and burning one of those choices to the ground. Almost literally, in fact.

All the other characters, no matter how briefly they may be on the page, leave some kind of impact so that once something happens to them, you feel it. The history that still waits to be revealed gets more and more intriguing and bizarre, and what happens at the end – man, I'll be very interested in seeing how Sigler managers to cram all that into one final book. But no matter what, I am looking forward to it.

My only qualm was the occasional bit of description. I had a hard time visualizing the things Em described as a snake-wolf, as well as how people sat on the pentapods once they discovered what they were. It's as if in those cases there just wasn't quite enough description for it to work in my brain. There are a few others, but part of me wonders also if I was just reading a little too fast for the pictures to catch up in my mind. Other times the descriptions were perfect, such as the climb up the Observatory and the awful statues. Messed up, man.

I do really wish that the covers better reflected how kickass these books are. They're just faces with some typeface that doesn't really have anything to do with the insides of the book. Ok, sure, the first book was Em's face I guess, but there's just a fraction of the circle's edge on her forehead. The symbol on the person's head for the cover of this book is slightly easier to see (I think it's supposed to be Bishop?), but you still have to know it's there to get what's going on. Even then, you can't see it clearly at all. The original cover of the first book was a little better, in my view, but still. Ah well.

(There is this video of Scott's editor talking about why they made the change. Frankly, I don't know who would have thought Em was dead, among other things, but whatever. Still think they could have been way better.)

But I'm totally digging on this trilogy, I love the Aztec imagery and all the borrowing that's been done to make everything here even more unique, and I am really, really, looking forward to October. Normally it takes much longer for the next book in a series to come out, but Scott Sigler either had a huge chunk of it done or he's in the writing zone – either way, I'm glad!


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