As aliens begin to invade Earth, the fate of the planet may rest in the hands of one man in Gomez’s debut sci-fi novel, the first in a series.
NASA officials notify the president of the United States when they notice two unidentified, white objects approaching Earth at unprecedented, curiously variable speeds. Meanwhile, U.S. Navy retiree Mark O’Brien, who currently lives a secluded lifestyle with his dog, Maverick, experiences a strange dream of an alien princess named Alaula, who warns him that the Quarantarions, a fierce warrior race, are headed toward Earth to conquer it. Her people are the Atlantins, who’ve suffered a great deal at the hands of the Quarantarions, and she tells him of a prophecy that he will one day lead earthlings and Atlantins against these horrifying enemies. Eventually, the Quarantarions do arrive and attack, and after facing personal tragedy, Mark joins with a small group of survivors, including a young woman named Kristin. The novel tracks their struggles to stay alive and fight back as Mark continues to have visions of Alaula offering help. Gomez does a good job of balancing the epic with the intimate, giving the alien invasion a sense of wide scope while also ensuring that Mark’s personal stakes are front and center. At the same time, however, there’s very little that sets this tale apart from thousands of others in the alien-invasion sci-fi subgenre. Furthermore, although a first-person, present-tense perspective can be used to great effect to enhance immediacy and suspense, here it makes the situations seem clunky and pedestrian; it also shines a light on the tale’s more familiar elements, which have been handled better elsewhere. The dialogue is also very stiff and unnatural, which undercuts the verisimilitude: “She throws an empty food can at Mark. Mark deflects the can with his hand and asks, ‘Why are you throwing the can at me?’ Kristin replies, ‘Because you are a jerk.’ Mark scratches his head and says, ‘Women can be crazy at times.’ ”
An attempt at a classic sci-fi yarn with an unfortunately undistinguished result.