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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Earthfall by Mark Walden. Sydney, Bloomsbury, 2012

The aliens have invaded.  Earth has been taken over by huge spaceships and their  floating-jellyfish Hunters and Grendels- huge things that stomp around crushing, killing, destroying. Most people have been turned into obedient brain dead slaves who are building and knocking down and being stored in mass "dormitories" when not in use. But there are still a few in London, the novel's setting, who were not affected, mostly teenagers, and they're fighting back. One of them, Sam, the hero of the novel, is special, for reasons I can't tell you without spoilers. In fact, the above blurb is about all I can tell without spoilers.

I have been reading Mark Walden's H.I.V.E novels and enjoying them very much. Mind you, he painted himself into a corner in the last one, but I have been assured that there will be three more books in the series, so we'll have to see how the author manages to get his hero, Otto, out of that corner. 

Meanwhile, this is the start of a new series. Mark Walden has a background in games design and it shows, as it does in the H.I.V.E series. There is almost non-stop action, involving a lot of explosions, running around, characters injured, characters killed, monsters roaring down the ruined streets of London and the destruction of at least one London landmark. And all this in a modest 280 pages!

I did have some questions about things that didn't quite make sense to me, but again, I can't reveal these without spoilers, and probably they will be answered in the next volume, but all in all, an entertaining read; it has been lying on my TBR pile for far too long, but in the end I read it in a day, on the beach. The story isn't finished, but at least it doesn't end on a cliffhanger, thank goodness!

The book should appeal to boys. As in the H.I.V.E series there are also strong female characters, so girls might enjoy it too. It's not as complex as the H.I.V.E universe and easier to swallow for reluctant readers.

Read it if you liked Charlie Higson's zombie novels. There are no actual zombies, but the enslaved humans almost might as well be, and there is the same flavour, with a wrecked London and teenagers having to hide from murderous enemies.

I have interviewed Mark Walden on this web site, here.

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