This is the second in a series and I didn’t read the first one, however the story included enough reference to the first book that I got the necessary background.
The story is that of a sixteen year old boy and his two friends one a boy and the other a girl computer whiz. It’s set in our world after WW3. Alien races have been discovered, and the Thule, six armed shape shifters, have used up all the resources on their home planet and have targeted earth as their next home. They’re preparing to take over earth and kill all the humans. While they prepare for their invasion, Cole and his friends go into the CHAOS academy to become the front line in the defence of the earth. (16 year olds!)
Cole discovers that he has been injected with Thule DNA as an infant and is likely the betrayer of the Thule that will save the earth according to a prophecy. He has also been touted as a likely replacement for the present head of CHAOS, (a 16 year old!) The present head sets a Thule assassin after him and the rest of the story is about Cole trying not to get killed. The story ends with the inevitable battle between him and the assassin.
You may have already realised the Harry Potterish theme and the parallels do take away the originality of the story. My main impression of this book are:
• It is very much a boys’ book with lots of guns.
• Although there is lots of fighting, not much happens overall. The plot is very simple and fairly predictable.
• The book is a little shallow.
• Some of it is unbelievable. Apart from the things I questioned above, the students seemed to know how to mount a mission in the training simulation without being actually taught anything. Perhaps the previous book may have provided a believable context for this however.
• Although the main characters where reasonably well fleshed out, Pierre, one of the boys at the academy was very two dimensional and his actions seemed to have little reason behind them apart from playing the ‘Draco Malfoy’ role.
At the end of the book was an essay about comic book writing and when I read that, it explained a lot. I realised that Alienation is very much comic book stuff. I give it 3 stars and figure that boys who like comic books will probably enjoy this book.