Review: “Alien: Sea of Sorrows,” James Moore

Pros: High-action, creepy, and fascinating!
Rating: 5 out of 5

James Moore tackles the second volume in the Alien Trilogy, Alien: Sea of Sorrows (Novel 2). (Book one was by Tim Lebbon.) Book one was good; it took place between the Alien and Aliens movies, included Ripley, and turned into quite a wild ride. This second book is even better. It’s been well over a hundred years since the events of the movies, and Weyland-Yutani still hasn’t acquired one of the Xenomorphs. Alan Decker is a bureaucrat who oversees things like terraforming procedures gone wrong. He’s on the planet LV178, which some might recall from the previous book, and there’s a mysterious area where the terraforming is turning to toxic sands and bizarre silicon nodes. This is a serious problem, and his report implicates negligence on the part of Weyland-Yutani. Before he leaves the planet, however, he’s seriously injured, and W-Y makes sure he loses his job–and faces far worse repercussions, even threatening his three children. So back he goes with more than thirty mercenaries, determined to find and capture a Xenomorph in order to secure his children’s future and wipe out certain debts. Making things all the more interesting is the fact that he’s a low-level empath, able to sense strong emotions from others. And during his time on LV178, he somehow established a link with the Xenomorphs–he can sense when they’re near. He can also sense their overwhelming hatred: for him. He’s Ellen Ripley’s descendant, and they recognize his blood as linked to Ripley, and so in their minds he is the Destroyer who wiped out a handful of queen eggs. They’ll do anything to wipe him out.

Alan is an interesting main character. I love the fact that he’s basically a bureaucrat. He doesn’t have the physical skills of an Ellen Ripley, nor those of a space marine, but he’s going up against a hive full of Xenomorphs. They became aware of him when he was injured and his blood spilled deep into the sands, and while he can sense them, they can also sense him. Some of the mercenaries going in with him are also interesting–both the men and the women are tough and capable; it isn’t their fault the aliens are killing machines. There’s an Andrea Rollins who makes a great company bad guy; she’s cold as ice and feels no shame about threatening Decker’s family. She provides enough incentive that even Decker doesn’t want to fail to bring back a live specimen, no matter how much he realizes that this could be a very, very bad thing.

There’s plenty of action to be had! There’s an alien ship (from the previous book) that provides a whole lot of alien territory for the good guys to get chased around in. There’s an entire mine to hide out in. There are scientists still on the surface in addition to the mercenaries sent in. Things get quite tense and exciting, and there’s a huge area–that’s remarkably claustrophobic in its construction–to make things interesting.

I absolutely enjoyed this book. This is probably obvious, but, content note for gore and violence.

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