Space aliens invade Earth, taking over human bodies, and destroying the humans’ minds. Human resisters must live as survivalists in desert caves and steal food, medicine and supplies from their former society now controlled by the aliens.

It’s a premise straight out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a truly scary story effectively grounded in 1950s paranoia, which Meyer spins off into her own unique take.

The first-person narrative is told by the alien who was surgically installed in Melanie, a woman who refuses to die inside. Her refusal is grounded in her great love for her surviving younger brother (which is moving) and the man who is her love interest (less convincing).

Sounds good! Then the problems begin.

Meyer’s prose is raw and unfettered, sometimes wonderful, sometime amateurish. The first 100 pages are a hodgepodge of the alien’s backstory and Melanie’s backstory, also told in the first person but set in a different type font so you the reader won’t get confused. The formulaic single-adverb chapter titles are often strained (we veer from “Dreamed” to “Dehydrated”). A passel of characters have names beginning with J (Jeremy, Jamie, Jeb, and so on). This is a common tic in first drafts I call writer’s echolalia, easily fixed by the wonders of global replace, and annoying to read in a published book.

The biggest problem I have is that, while the premise is clear, the concept of the aliens is not. Are these brutal merciless invaders bent on total annihilation of humanity or not?

Telling the story from the alien’s POV is risky. The alien is tormented to tears by Melanie’s angry voice in her head. The alien has doubts and fears, seeks out Melanie’s brother and the love interest in their survivalist camp. The hive-mind of the aliens is happy. They don’t use money, they share. They help each other. They give great parties. They make the planets they conquer run on time. They refer to each other as “souls” and have soulful aboriginal names (The Wanderer, The Comforter). So why don’t the pesky humans give it up, already?

Meyer sets up a classic romance angle: a tussle on a dark desert floor, a kiss. But even when Melanie is still herself—and especially after she’s invaded—nothing happens between her and the love interest. They bathe with their clothes on, lie together in caves or rustic cabins and sleep. Why? Because they don’t want to bring children into such an oppressive world. Well, okay. But this is an adult book. It strains credulity to think people scrabbling for existence in caves wouldn’t get around to succumbing to human nature. It might have been interesting to see what the characters would have done if Meyer had allowed them to bathe in their birthday suits.

So there you have it, my friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love woman-powered science fiction (I’ve written some, myself). If you’re looking to curl up with 600+ pages, this will do. But if you want polished prose, original ideas, and tight plotting, read any science fiction book by the award-winning Nancy Kress.

From the author of The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, Summer of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle, and The Gilded Age, A Time Travel (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book) on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, forthcoming projects and more. And on my Facebook Author Page, on Amazon, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

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More bargains for your reading enjoyment:

Romantic Suspense! Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle! Lily flees Toledo on the Overland train. She must share a seat with Jackson Tremaine and befriends the Celestial Girl, the daughter of a Chinese dignitary. But appearances are not what they seem.

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Coming soon! Celestial Girl, Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom, which will include Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom, and Book 4: Terminus. The Omnibus Edition will include all three books.

Of The Gilded Age, the New York Times Book Review said, “A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”

Urban fantasy! The Garden of Abracadabra is available in three affordable installments. Begin with Book 1: Life’s Journey on Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

The Bantam classic, Summer of Love is available in seven affordable installments. Begin at the beginning on Nook, Kindle, or UK Kindle

Suspense! Don’t miss SHAKEN, my sexy thriller, an ebook adaptation of “Deus Ex Machina” published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, republished in Transcendental Tales (Donning Press), and translated and republished worldwide. On Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Literary science fiction! And don’t miss TOMORROW’S CHILD, The Story That Sold To The Movies. This began as a medical documentary, then got published in Omni Magazine as a lead story, and finally sold to Universal Pictures, where the project is now in development. On Nook, Kindle, and UK Kindle.

Thank you for your readership!