This book is a SciFi version of Beauty and the Beast, but nothing like ACOTAR or Beastly or even Wintersong. Set against 21st century America, somewhere near the Rocky Mountains, this book is about alien invasion (or is it?) and humanity at its worst and all. When I first read the summary on Goodreads and the first few chapters, I thought, “Oh so this will be another Warm Bodies but with aliens.” I have a pretty narrow view of aliens live story, since it kinda creeps me out. But I still read them, mostly because I’d like to be proven wrong.
THIS BOOK PROVED ME WRONG!!!
I loved the central characters so much. There were two point of views, from a human girl and an alien soldier’s. The female protagonist, Raven (who is also biracial, half white half black), is fierce and pessimistic and does not sit back and let others dictate her life. And I just adored Eighth/August, the alien boy soldier, for being so adorable in love with Raven and being so sentimental and emotional when he’s not supposed to be, when his species isn’t supposed to be.
I love love love love love him! He’s naïve, innocent, sweet and charming like R was in Warm Bodies.
Anyway, here are more reasons to read this book:
01) Realistic Plot:
Okay, SciFi are NOT realistic and so isn’t this book’s plot. Yet the portrayal of all things that could’ve happened and could’ve been felt by everyone is shown here. All the emotions are so poignant and raw and just hurts you like you can be hurt by a story.
So the plot is that aliens called Nahx have attacked planet earth and are mercilessly darting people. The Nahx are tall, like basketball players tall, with a body armor that can both shield them from harm and also helps them feel things. Their only weakness is at their neck where a stab can pretty much do the trick. And they don’t feel anything other than rage and bloodthirst. So yeah pretty much killing machine. They resemble to human wearing astronaut suits and helmet. And they’re ranked according to their mental functionality, like the most devoid of feelings and most cruel and direct are First, then there are Second, Third, Fourth etc. Our adorable hero Eighth/August is an eighth, so pretty low. His ability to feel beauty and human emotions make him defected to his kind.
Anyway, this story never once sounds unrealistic other than the one question the author dodges intentionally and annoyingly.
Why. The. Hell. Did. They. Attack. Humans?
Warning: this book has a pretty cliffhanging ending.
02) Character Portrayal:
Super amazing. Every character was shown to have emotions and back stories and their own reason to act reasonably or evilly. The last time I read such character development is in the book The Strange and Beautiful Sorrow of Ava Lavender. This book’s character development shows how war and apocalyptic events can turn humans either evil and dictating or humane and sacrificing.
03) The Romance:
Is also so realistic and touching and moving! No makeout sessions, no cliché tropes like hand holding and stuff. All incidents between Raven and Eighth/August are so beautiful and heartrending! I suppressed a cry when I mistook that Eighth/August’s love for Raven may be unrequited. There was no abuse either. Totally healthy beautiful relationship.
04) The Writing:
Simply stunning. No flowery or purple prose to express emotions. Simply simple words woven beautifully together that effortlessly tugs your heart and hurts you there.
I’d recommend all to give this book a try. It may be a SciFi young adult book but trust me, it falls more to literary section than mainstream fighting like in Divergent or The 5th Wave or Hunger Games. It is not. Rather there is less plot and more characters who become your friends as they take you on horror adventures of survival, love and tragedy.
I can’t wait for its sequel!!
Thank you, Riveted Lit, for allowing me to read it for free in 24hrs. Super grateful!