Pros: Psychologically fascinating
Cons: Overly reliant on secrets and surprises
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review ebook provided free by publisher for this review.
Expected publication date: 7/14/2015.
Scott Sigler’s Alive (The Generations Trilogy) starts with a woman waking up in a coffin. She bashes her way free, only to find a room full of similar boxes. Some of them have young corpses in them; others hold people like her. They all believe it to be their 12th birthday, but they’re also all clearly too tall and adult for twelve. Em (so called because her coffin was labeled “M. Savage”, starts organizing and herding the rest of them. Each person has a tattoo of some sort on his or her forehead. It quickly becomes obvious that the ‘circle-stars’ are meant to be fighters and protectors. There’s another problem, however, beyond the fact that they don’t know who or where or what they are: there’s no food or water in their room. They go searching and meet up with a great number of surprises.
Although I’m dying to dig further into the meat of things, it’s really difficult to say much about Alive without spoiling the constant little (and occasionally huge) secrets. Fortunately or unfortunately, this is a story that relies on the idea that the reader knows as little about what’s going on as the characters do, and you’re meant to make discoveries in a pace with Em.
The characters are great to watch. They all start out with the vague lack of memory, a symbol on their foreheads, and a last name/first initial from the coffins they awoke in. Slowly they discover (and sometimes adapt) their purposes as they search desperately for food and water. All around them they find the signs of a war long past: skeletons buried in dust. I like seeing how they become more fully realized human beings through their thoughts, actions, and reactions.
I wouldn’t say the final reveal shocked me, but it certainly satisfied the promise of the story’s buildup. The pacing and violence pick up as the story progresses, pulling me in as the reader.
Without adding much more, I’ll say that Alive is a great read. The character arcs are my favorite part of it, and I look forward to seeing other books in the series.