In this sci-fi novel, aliens plan to invade our planet, and it’s up to a plucky, teenage orphanage employee and her allies to stop them.
The story’s protagonist was anonymously left at a Detroit-area orphanage as a baby. Now 19, the girl, known as Pix, is a resident staffer at the same orphanage. She does whatever needs to be done, such as raising funds for the orphans to have a big Christmas tree, lights, and presents. When the kids gather to decorate their donated tree, a very real-looking Santa Claus (spelled throughout as “Clause”) shows up with presents for all. Curious, Pix follows him when he leaves and discovers startling truths: his name is Nick Salisbury, he’s her biological father, and he and her mother, Sabrina, nicknamed “Brin,” are agents working for the Admin, an organization of benevolent aliens. Nick and Brin were recruited following an attack by the Vellim—evil, insectlike beings that they thought had killed Pix as a baby. Meanwhile, the orphanage is under threat from Ralph Normandy, a real estate bigwig who wants to acquire its land by hook or by crook. Also in the mix is Guy, a personable young man that Pix runs into on the street, who has secrets of his own. With the help of alien technology, her newfound parents, and some good-hearted folks, Pix aims to foil a new Vellim invasion while giving the orphans the best Christmas ever. Corbin (The Odin Chronicle, 2013) offers an upbeat holiday story packed with grateful kids, kindly adults, sneering villains, over-the-top light displays, and nifty alien gizmos. The plot satisfyingly combines scenes of action, miraculous help, and burgeoning romances among several characters. But although the novel often displays humanistic values, it has a culturally myopic view of Christmas, with the orphanage staff even claiming that “we don’t promote any particular kind of religious activity for the kids.”
An often enjoyable, if unpolished, story that could use an acknowledgment that not everyone celebrates Christmas.