By Scott Sigler
Reviewed by SA
Looking for your new favorite book this summer? Summer fast and fun that will stay with you forever? Then I would seriously recommend Alive, Scott Sigler’s new book coming out today. It’s a fun, fast paced thrill ride that will leave you breathless and asking for more, offering you questions upon questions of mystery and intrigue. You’ll never want to put it down.
When she breaks free from the coffin shaped box that was holding her, our protagonist has no idea who she is. She knows only one thing: it is her twelfth birthday. But her clothes are too tight, her body too large for being twelve; and what is that strange circular mark on her forehead? As people begin to emerge from the coffins, each claiming it to be their twelfth birthday, none fitting the bill, and with no other memories, our hero takes on a name: Em, for the M. Savage on her coffin. She will lead her crew into the corridors of their strange prison – if it even is a prison – where every hallway is strewn with the remains of the dead, and rooms hold horrors they would never want to see. As their questions get answered, more questions are asked. Who are they, and what are they doing here? What do the marks mean? And are they alone?
The second I read “its my twelfth birthday”, I groaned internally. ‘ I assumed much too quickly that this was just another YA*… I was wrong, thank goodness! In less than a chapter, Sigler had managed to get me completely hooked. Already, every question that was out there made us want, no, need an answer. And he wasn’t going to just give it to us, no!
Now the difficult thing about this book is writing a review with no spoilers: the answers to the questions our heroes ask are astounding, and something you could not have anticipated at all. The best of all, however, is that the answers do not let you down. Frequently, a good book or show will ride on the intrigue to keep you reading, but when all is revealed, you feel cheated. For some, think Lost. What’s fantastic about Alive is that the answers enrich the novel and give it a whole other dimension. You don’t learn anything until near the very end, so the reveal actually leaves you asking more, wanting more.
Em herself is a fantastic lead. She’s smart, she’s insightful, and she’s flawed. It’s an incredible amount of growth for a character with no memories. She watches and judges, plans and fights, all the while trying to keep everyone together and proving herself to be an incredible leader. In her mind, she is still twelve, which means she has some quite interesting insights (mainly on modesty, she’s not a fan of her tight clothes) and remarks (she’s confused by white people skin for a while). I absolutely loved her. The internal turmoil after a defining moment is something you don’t get a lot of in novels these days: it’s either brushed over, or brought up every five minutes. Em is a great person to follow, and get to know.
Alive strikes balance in everything: it finds the balance between asking hundreds of questions and answering them, balance in a fast paced plot and internal turmoil, balance between good and evil. It’s bother horror survival and human growth. It may not be ‘the perfect novel’ (does it even exist?), but I could find nothing wrong with it, nothing negative to say at all. It was gripping and fun! It was surprisingly fast to read – possibly because I couldn’t put it down – and I loved piecing everything together with Em. This is definitely my favorite YA science fiction novel in a long, long time. First time I’ve read something as good in year! It was… awesome, for lack of a better word..
So if you’re looking for a great, fun, fast read this summer, you’re going to love Alive. Drop everything and start it now! Comes out today on amazon.
N.B. I just found out that this is the first in a trilogy. It ends in such a way that I had no idea! I’m super excited for the sequel, when do we get it?
*Not that I have anything against YA! It’s the whole “Cash Cow” mentally that’s bugging me these days. You can tell when a book is written just for the money of it, taking everything that appeals to the key demographic and shoving it together for optimum readership. Thankfully, this is not that book.