Author: Scott Sigler
Series: Generations Trilogy #1
Genre: YA Distopia
Received for Review from Audible
Summary (from Goodreads)
A young woman awakes trapped in an enclosed space. She has no idea who she is or how she got there. With only her instincts to guide her, she escapes her own confinement—and finds she’s not alone. She frees the others in the room and leads them into a corridor filled with the remains of a war long past. The farther these survivors travel, the worse are the horrors they confront. And as they slowly come to understand what this prison is, they realize that the worst and strangest possibilities they could have imagined don’t even come close to the truth.
This is going to be a difficult one to talk about, because the less you know about the plot, the better. It’s a story of discovery – of characters who’ve lost their memory trying to figure out where they are and what is going on in the most awful of circumstances. So to say much of the plot at all would be to spoil it. So here goes…
Sigler’s Alive is much in the vein of James Patterson-style thrillers. It moves fast, breakneck speed a lot of the time, with lots of action and characters drawn with broad strokes. They aren’t terrible characters, but they’re fairly archetypal. It’s not difficult to work out what the symbols each has on their head indicate. What I do like about the characters is that Sigler plays with our ideas of good and bad – one of the characters who looks set to be a bad guy ends up being one of the supporters of the protagonist, and one of the good guys is an arrogant little twerp who is difficult to like at times. The main characters aren’t one dimensional, though the background characters are pretty interchangeable, even possible love interest O’Malley.
There are some brilliant high concept ideas in play throughout the story. I had some of them figured out but there was a really nice ‘wtf?’ moment that was neatly explained in a way that made me smile. The novel clearly draws a lot of inspiration from Lord of the Flies though, and some of the nods are a little too… obvious. Pigs? That might just be me – I’ve read Lord of the Flies a LOT of times, and studied it very closely. I’m very familiar with the themes and motifs, and a lot of them play out in Alive.
Stylistically, the writing sometimes annoyed me a bit. The characters had a habit of repeating phrases and used a lot of short sentences that made the reading a bit breathless. I know it’s for pace, but sometimes it felt in need of a few complex sentences, just to give the narrator time to get her breath back.
Overall, it was a solid novel, with enough going on to make me curious about the next instalment. It wasn’t mind blowing, but it was good fun, with a few good surprise twists that made me want to finish listening faster than my daily commute would allow. Thank goodness for housework.