Monday 30 July 2012

212. Earthfall by Mark Walden

Earthfall by Mark Walden 
Published July 2012 Bloomsbury

From the publisher:
One morning Sam wakes up to see strange vessels gathered in the skies around London. As he stares up, people stream past him, walking silently towards the enormous ships which emit a persistent noise. Only Sam seems immune to the influence of this signal, but when drones swoop down hunting for resisters, Sam is saved by a group of kids who, like him, have escaped the strange enslavement. Using their wits, some captured alien technology and the resources of Earth's governments - now at their disposal - they must find out who controls these ships, what they want, and how to stop them. A fabulously plotted encounter of the third kind from a master of adventure fiction.

Mark Walden has written the increasingly popular H.I.V.E series, and now we move away from villains and come face to face with something far worse, something alien.  On a very ordinary day, something very extraordinary happened.  Large extraterrestrial objects began appearing all over the globe, several kilometres in diameter, hovering over populated areas.  Without warning an intense bright green light and a high whine turns everyone into vacant followers, everyone that is except Sam.

At first Sam follows his Mother and sister with the herds of other affected people, but he realises that he can't stay with them, and he begins his fight for survival.  When the story begins, Sam has been on his own for 18 months, living underground, only coming out for food.  On a trip to the hospital for antibiotics, Sam meets Rachel, and he finds that there are others like him, others who haven't been affected, others who are fighting this unknown evil.

From here on in, we begin to get some answers. There is a doctor at the head of this group of  survivors, Dr Stirling, and he knows more than he is letting on, he knows who is behind this invasion.  We also find out what the human followers are being used for, they are building something, something that Sam and his friends have to stop.  With all of the secrets coming out Sam discovers that he is different from the other, different in a way that makes him very special.

This isn't really a new story, there's a bit of War of The Worlds, I Am Legend and District 9 in it for sure, but it's a genre that hasn't been popular in children's/teenage fiction.  There's a lot of fantasy, and a lot of distopian fiction coming out, but only a trickle of science fiction.  For me it makes a nice change to read about aliens as opposed to wizards and vampires, so I am all for more science fiction hitting the shelves.  

We are left on a bit of a cliffhanger in this book, the story most definitely doesn't end, so it's not a surprise to note that Earthfall 2 will be landing soon!  There is a fair amount of violence in this book, hardly surprising considering there are waging a way with aliens, lots of shooting and explosions, but nothing to graphic and gory.

Who will like this book: Boys age 11+
Read it if you like: 0.4 by Mike Lancaster

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