Thursday, December 29, 2016

ALIGHT BY SCOTT SIGLER - BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, Alight by Scott Sigler.




After reading the first book in this series, I knew I would be continuing on with the next book. And in many ways, the sequel did not disappoint.

This story picks up pretty quickly after the first book leaves off. Obviously, any info I give will be a spoiler for the first book, as this is the sequel, so if you haven't finished book one, do so before going any further with this review.

Like I was saying, the story starts where Alive left off. Em and the gang have landed on the new planet after a battle with the Grownups. Some people's memories are beginning to fill in. They start to remember how to do things, and what things are called. I won't go into too many details but I will say that I really liked how Sigler handles this aspect of the book.

He goes into detail as to why the memories are returning, but it never becomes too tedious or boring. I was really happy with how things were explained, even small things like what something was called. The characters went through a process to find the names, it wasn't just "oh, I shouldn't know what this is because I have no memory of it, but I do." Sigler never gave the impression that the characters just knew what something was, and because it is a whole new world for them, I really appreciated that.

I will say it took me a bit to remember for myself what had happened in the first book, especially towards the end of it, but Sigler was quick to remind us of deaths or important things that happened. My main issue was just some of the relationships between characters, specifically with Em, I couldn't remember who was supposed to like her, if it was supposed to be a love triangle, and what her feelings were. Truth be told, these aren't integral elements to the story, it's not really a romance but that was a part of the story and I felt I didn't really remember it enough for those things not to be brought up again.

One thing Sigler does extremely well, without a doubt, is create a tense and suspenseful story. As with the first book, this is a quick read because you cannot put it down. It's one thing after another, and the underlying tension between a make-shift 'church' and 'state' made me feel a lot of emotions at once. There is a bit of a radical religious figure in the story, and some of the things he said really threw me. I guess some people believe things like what he was saying, but it seemed a little extremist for me. I pretty much sat through all his dialogue tense and angry.

I also appreciated the fact that Sigler isn't afraid of talking about sexuality and sexual orientation. And he does it in such a way where it's brought up, but such a non-issue. Just things in passing about how two of the guys have gotten closer, like a heterosexual couple that's also in the book, but it doesn't matter to the main character because they are just being who they are. I just really appreciated the fact that he included it in the story when it is, and has, so easily been left out of novels, especially sci-fi.

In this story, there is a group of beings that are not human but considered to be natives of the land, at least they were there before Em's group gets there. There were definitely a lot of parallels of how First Nations people were (and to a large extent still are) treated. They are perceived by some of Em's group as a people that need to be eradicated because they are less important. They don't speak the same language, they have different customs, etc. But there are also many in the group, including Em herself, who want to interact peacefully with these beings. They are running out of food but the Springers have survived. It becomes excruciatingly clear that the two groups need to work together. Seeing this portrayal makes me wonder what people were thinking so many years ago when they settled in the "New World."

Along these lines, I was also intrigued by Sigler's portrayal of the symbols. Some were knights, others admin, and some slaves. I won't say too much about this element, but I appreciated the special care Sigler took in explaining specifically the slave category. Like with the native creatures, he describes the situation delicately. I think it would be easy to just have those characters with that and other symbols stick with their supposed tasks, but Sigler does a good job of showing that they are more than just the caste that has been chosen for them, and likewise with those of others as well.

And of course, in typical Sigler fashion, we end the story in a bit of a cliffhanger.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and am very excited for the finale.