Review: Alive by Scott Sigler
Series: The Generations Trilogy #1
Published by Del Rey on July 14th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopian
For fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Red Rising comes a gripping sci-fi adventure in which a group of teenagers wake up in a mysterious corridor with no knowledge of who they are or how they got trapped. Their only hope lies with an indomitable young woman who must lead them not only to answers but to survival. "I open my eyes to darkness. Total darkness. I hear my own breathing, but nothing else. I lift my head . . . it thumps against something solid and unmoving. There is a board right in front of my face. No, not a board . . . a lid." A teenage girl awakens to find herself trapped in a coffin. She has no idea who she is, where she is, or how she got there. Fighting her way free brings little relief--she discovers only a room lined with caskets and a handful of equally mystified survivors. Beyond their room lies a corridor filled with bones and dust, but no people . . . and no answers. She knows only one thing about herself--her name, M. Savage, which was engraved on the foot of her coffin--yet she finds herself in charge. She is not the biggest among them, or the boldest, but for some reason the others trust her. Now, if they're to have any chance, she must get them to trust each other. Whatever the truth is, she is determined to find it and confront it. If she has to lead, she will make sure they survive. Maybe there's a way out, a rational explanation, and a fighting chance against the dangers to come. Or maybe a reality they cannot comprehend lies just beyond the next turn. Advance praise for Alive "A ripping, claustrophobic thunderbolt of a novel, Scott Sigler's Alive gives us an unforgettable young hero who must find the inner strength to lead without knowing where she is, who she is, and how bitterly the odds are stacked against her."--Pierce Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Red Rising "Sigler has created a wonderful and engrossing character in M. Savage. Strong and smart, but with the naïveté and misgivings of any teenage girl, she's someone you'll definitely want on your side when s*** hits the fan, which it most certainly does."--Veronica Belmont, host of Sword & Laser "A tense, unsettling page-turner of a story--both deeply strange and wildly compelling."--Cherie Priest, author of Boneshaker and Maplecroft "From the first page I was hooked. The puzzle unfolds masterfully, right down to the last page."--Dr. Phil Plait, author of Bad Astronomy
Alive is a hard one to review. I really hate spoilers and try to be quite conservative in how much information I put in my reviews. So a book that begins with mysterious circumstances, where the story is really revealed in a way where the characters are discovering at the same time as the reader is a book where I really can’t comment much on events. If it’s not in the blurb, I am considering it off limits. So, as you can gather form the blurb, a group of teenagers awaken with no memories of who they are or how they got to this place. There’s no one “in charge”, there is no one to help or answer questions. These kids are completely on their own as they try to determine who they are, where they are, and why they are unable to remember anything. It is a tense and intriguing opening, you can’t help but want the answers to these questions.
The style of narration took a little bit for me to adjust to. The narration begins with a 12 year old girl awakening to a confusing and disturbing situation. It’s different, and I noticed the style in the beginning and was a bit unsure what I would think of reading the book. But honestly after about 20 pages or so I had become accustomed to it. I don’t think dialog or prose is a strength in this book, but it’s not really a deterrent either.
I wanted to read this book because the blurb compared it to The Hunger Games and Red Rising. Those are both series that I find hard to put down, they have that addictive, page turning quality, and the put the reader at the edge of their seat with tension and anticipation. Honestly, I just didn’t experience that with this book. It wasn’t bad by any means, but I wouldn’t put it in quite the category as those books. I never felt close to the same attachment with any of these characters as I did for Katniss and Darro, if anything I wish the author had some how created a stronger bond between the reader and the characters. There was so much emphasis on the mystery of what was going on, I think character development wound up suffering a bit.
I did like the main character, a girl who quickly rises to become a leader. (I always like girls who are leaders). But I can’t say I completely understand why she was catapulted to leader status. I get some of the reasons, but also never felt convinced that it was compelling enough to make the decision so clear cut for the others around her. I also enjoyed the tension and mystery as these teens struggle to survive, organize and find out where they are and how to get out. There are some interesting dynamics, and while I may not have been as attached to some of the characters as I might have preferred, that does not mean they were not interesting.
So overall, I did feel entertained by the story, but also never felt as attached to or connected with the characters as I would have liked. If you are looking for a book with a mysterious environment, where characters have to organize against an unknown threat and find a way for survival in a completely foreign environment, then give this a try. If you are looking for a strong character driven book, this might not be the best fit for you.