Dark side war by Zachery Brown
So, I promised you a review of this book and here it is. First, a caveat, I read this book as part of my awards read. The good thing about this reading method is that you occasionally find books that really surprise you, surpassing your expectations. The down side is, that you are just as likely to come across books that simply weren’t written for you. Books that are written in a writing style/voice that leaves you cold or a genre that you just don’t get on with. This book falls into the latter camp. If you like what I call ‘mainstream genre” fiction you will like this book. But, I prefer books that have a more experimental structure and/or lyrical language style. So, this book is not for me.
“Aliens have conquered Earth, but they haven’t conquered humanity—yet. A young army conscript battles for survival in this action-packed futuristic thriller that will appeal to fans of Halo and Inglorious Bastards.
People used to wonder if we were alone in the universe. Well, we’re not. Not by a long shot. Aliens come in all shapes and sizes, and even the good guys are likely to haunt your nightmares. And oh, you’ll have nightmares, even after you leave the service. If you leave the service.
Devin is a reluctant conscript to an alien-run army: when the Accordance conquered Earth, they said it was to prepare against the incoming alien Conglomeration forces. But as Devin travels to the dark side of the moon for boot camp and better acquaints himself with his so-called allies, his loyalties are increasingly tested. Because the enemy of the enemy is not always a friend. Sometimes...” http://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/The-Darkside-War/Zachary-Brown/The-Icarus-Corps/9781481430357
“I stood at attention. My boots dug into the sad, scraggly patch of open field that was all that remained of what had once been called Central Park, and I remembered standing in the middle of a baseball field here, once. A long time ago.” Page 1.
This book had a diverse range of characters. The characters represented different ethnic groups. There were interesting girl/women characters. The characters had different levels of power/privilege. They came from different political perspectives and had very different views on how to deal with their alien conquerors.
To me, this novel felt disjointed. It felt like it was divided into 3 distinct sections; each of which opened questions that weren’t satisfactory answered. The first section, a rebellion narrative, was an interesting look at how earthlings would deal with an alien invasion, asking how many would rebel and who would acquiesce; for what reasons? It would have been interesting to explore these sections further. But, then we and Devin are whizzed into space and intro the second section of the novel which is set in a kind of boot camp; where earthlings are tested, trained and killed by their alien overlords. This could have been an interesting look at conquest and how people can fight for their overlords. It could have been an interesting look at the differing earthlings and how they survive this environment and the social conditions that they found there. To a limited extent it was. But, that was short. Since, then we were catapulted into section three and into a tradition alien shoot out; which, I found really boring.
As you see from the quote at the beginning of this review, the writing was workaday/mainstream. Which, while did work as first person narration from a teenage boy and made the work easy to scan, made the text feel boring to a reader who prefers a more lyrical/ experimental form of prose. To me the professionalism of the writing wasn’t exciting and didn’t feel like the speech of a young boy under stress. Surely, Devin’s speech would have been more fragmented, and less structured. So, if you like YA type books with fairly diverse characters, set in a dark space landscape, then this book is for you. But, this book was not for me.