In this companion and conclusion to the duology that began with Unearthed (2018), two teenagers discover shocking secrets about Earth’s supposedly alien invaders.
Leaving huge, flapping holes in their story’s internal logic, Kaufman (Elementals: Ice Wolves, 2018, etc.) and Spooner (co-author: Unearthed, 2018, etc.) bring brainy Jules and action-oriented Mia back to Earth and, to give them further opportunities for steamy if chaste snogging, send them on a long road trip from Catalonia to Prague with Jules’ flamboyantly gay cousin, Neal. Meanwhile the advance guard of the Undying, all of whom inexplicably look like brown-skinned human teenagers, touches off the invasion by poisoning the water of select cities with a toxin that affects residents: “Like they’ve…regressed or something, like they’re Neanderthals.” (A concurrent plan to build portals on the surface for Undying troops to march through just…floats away in the press of events.) In a severely misguided effort to bring clarity to all this, the authors eventually lock the main characters in a room with Dex, an invader with a secret, to unpack the backstory. By the end, the course of true love has run far more smoothly than the storyline. Jules is black and English, and Mia is white and American.
A hopeless muddle depressingly light on credible elements or nuanced characters. (Science fiction. 14-18)