Rich Larson
Annex Cover



I've deliberately been avoiding YA books in 2018, because most of the ones I've read the last few years have disappointed me by valorizing selfishness and stupidity as heroic traits. But the synopsis of this one was interesting, and the gorgeous Gregory Manchess cover and the fact that it was available at my library probably pushed it over the line. And it was well worth reading.

The story dumps you in media res, 6 months after an alien invasion has left the adults mindless from devices attached to their brainstems which have them living in ideal VR worlds. The children have been rounded up into camps, and some sort of organism implanted to incubate inside the torso of each of them. However, some children have managed to escape, and they hide out together and forage for food and survival.

As the story progresses, the reader gradually finds out more about the aliens and why they've done what they've done to the adults and to the children. There are a couple of different kinds of aliens, and the author has done a good job of making them truly alien, rather than just humans in alien bodies.

There is definitely some selfishness and stupidity perpetrated by some of the characters, but it's portrayed as exactly that. There are some plot conveniences which may strain disbelief, but I was willing to roll with them, and overall, I found it an enjoyable book. It's a complete story, but definitely leaves a setup for a sequel. I will probably be nominating this for the Lodestar YA Award.