Headline out now
Years after the Illyri arrive and take over the Earth, resistance to their rule continues – but some of their enemies are not just human in form…
John Connolly (author of the Charlie Parker genre blending horror/detective novels) and his wife Jennifer Ridyard have come up with a winner in this first of a trilogy of Young Adult novels which takes many of the common themes of that genre, puts them in an SF setting, and out-Vs V with its use of parallels with the resistance to the Nazis. Be warned – there are some very graphic moments in here, and, as is appropriate for this style of storytelling, some deaths which aren’t telegraphed simply because that’s exactly what happens in war.
The authors focus their tale around four teenagers – two human boys, two alien girls – who are at the heart of the conflicts in the book, either because of their own backgrounds, or by being in the wrong/right place at the wrong/right time. The love stories inherent to the form are present throughout, but never become overwhelming and you quickly realise that there is far more going on than either the youngsters or indeed many of their elders and betters realise.
The backstory is doled out mostly sparingly (although there are occasional lumps of exposition) and it’s also clear by the end of the book that there is far more to come in the remaining two volumes. I hope that at least part of the rest of the story stays Earthbound – the authors evoke the predominantly Scottish setting well – but I’m equally keen to see if they can create alien worlds and an alien society as successfully as they bring the competing sides to life in this book.
Verdict: Like the best Young Adult books, this will grab audiences of all ages while not losing sight of the target audience’s requirements. Recommended. 8/10