“Lore” (aka James Frey) moves his ponderous, jumbled science-fiction epic forward an inch by dropping a traitor into the band of superpowered refugees charged with saving Earth from evil aliens.
The tale has already become so complicated that even confirmed series fans may welcome the long, sluggish stretches of hanging out, fretting, flirting, bickering and undisguised recaps. These are packed in between the paltry number of violent but widely spaced encounters with brutish Mogadorian invaders. Here, the already indigestibly large cast of teenage Loriens and their human helpers gains three and loses one as two chancy new allies, multiple gems with mystical properties, prophetic visions of terrifying doom, ravening monsters, mysterious scars and hints of new powers arrive to add more flimsy trinkets to the literary flea market. Confusingly, three of the Loriens switch off as first-person narrators but are given (whether from authorial inertia or incompetence) indistinguishable voices. Following the climactic denouement, the young heroes end up more or less where they were in the previous episode: split up and on the run. Sample chapters, not labeled as such, from three spinoff novellas are appended.
Likely headed for the best-seller lists—but not on its merits. (Science fiction. 12-14)