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Review – Alien: Echo by Mira Grant

Alien Echo Feature
Alien: Echo

Book Title: Alien: Echo

Book Description: An original young adult novel of the Alien universe Olivia and her twin sister Viola have been dragged around the universe for as long as they can remember. Their parents, both xenobiologists, are always in high demand for their research into obscure alien biology. Just settled on a new colony world, they discover an alien threat unlike anything they’ve ever seen. And suddenly the sisters’ world is ripped apart. On the run from terrifying aliens, Olivia’s knowledge of xenobiology and determination to protect her sister are her only weapons as the colony collapses into chaos. But then a shocking family secret bursts open—one that’s as horrifying to Olivia as the aliens surrounding them. The creatures infiltrate the rich wildlife on this virgin colony world—and quickly start adapting. Olivia’s going to have to adapt, too, if she’s going to survive...

Book Author: Mira Grant

Book Format: Hardcover

Date published: 2019-04-09

Overall
8.5/10
8.5/10
  • Writing - 9/10
    9/10
  • Development - 8/10
    8/10
  • Overall - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
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Review – Alien: Echo by Mira Grant

 

Alien: Echo is the first novel to come out in the world of Alien, the movie franchise. So it’s a pretty exciting time to be a fan right now. At least, if you’re the type that loves it when movies get turned into a book series.

The novel is written by Mira Grant, a pseudonym for Seanan McGuire. Mira Grant is well known for her ability to write novels full of detailed and accurate descriptions. Especially ones in a science fiction setting. If you’ve ever read her Parasitology series, you’ll know what I mean by that.

Alien: Echo is not a novelization of one of the Alien movies. It is it’s own unique story. And it understandably made a few changes for the sake of adapting to a new form of media. The novel follows twin sisters, Olivia and Viola, and their unexpected adventure on a colony planet.

Thanks to their parents’ careers in xenobiology, the two have gotten pretty used to getting dragged around from planet to planet. But even their experience with other alien species wasn’t quite enough to prepare them for what happened here.

Writing

Alien: Echo by Mira Grant
Alien: Echo by Mira Grant

Alien: Echo was a novel full of rich details and tense interactions. Fans of the Alien franchise would probably enjoy this read. I know I did. Especially if they’re looking for a more analytic view of the aliens themselves.

Mira Grant did an exceptional job creating characters that were believable in their understanding and mastery of xenobiology. It was also an interesting starting point for the novel. It allowed the characters to immediately identify and understand things about the aliens that wouldn’t be typical of the series (with a few exceptions, of course).

The extensive details provided in the novel helped to make up for the lack of jump scares that occurred. Plenty of moments in the novel are scary or startling, but they’re different than what we’re used to seeing in the movies. They had to be. The details helped to bridge the gap and enhance the tension.

The novel also showed the influence of the young adult genre – giving us plenty of opportunities to see the interpersonal reactions between all of the characters. There was a specific focus on one of the twins, so our understanding was colored by her perspective of events. In that sense, it was perhaps more emotional than previous incarnations. But it wasn’t an unwelcome change.

Development

This novel took a lot of unexpected twist and turns. Yet looking back on it, Alien: Echo didn’t break from the mould that the movies followed. There have always been extra elements occurring within the series. Elements that weren’t directly related to the aliens themselves. These revelations were emotionally impactful for the characters involved. And in some instances even put the survival of everyone at risk. That was true in this novel, as well.

The character development, relationship progressions, and the building tension were all handled really well, on the whole. One of the characters was so perfectly designed to be hated that it was impossible to avoid the intent behind his character. But I was okay with that. Sometimes we need a character that we’re not going to feel guilty about hating, right?

Watching the characters learn, struggle, and do everything they could to survive during Alien: Echo was truly fascinating. Again, part of the reason why it was so fascinating was because of their ability to analyze and asses the aliens from a biological sense. But the rest was all due to well-designed characters.

There were parts about this novel that were almost painfully loyal to the Alien franchise. I’m not going to say too many details about that, for the sake of spoilers. But I will say that it rang true at multiple times throughout the course of it.

Conclusion

Alien: Echo is not a direct novelization of any Alien movie, but it is still an exceedingly fun read. Though it may be better suited for readers that like a dash of young adult mixed in with their fantasy. But I don’t think it should put readers off either.

I’m still thrilled with the choice to make the family all xenobiologists. Or in the case of the twins, xenobiologists in training. It allowed for a different and unique viewpoint. And it even gave some opportunities to overcome the change in media. It was an excellent decision.

The titling of this novel indicates that this is the first novel in a series, which is pretty exciting. There was definitely room to continue with the set of characters introduced here. Though likewise, I think they could easily jump to a new cast, while still dealing with the situation introduced in this novel. Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen next.

 


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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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