Our protagonist, Clint Beecham, and his friend, Derek, are hiking in a national park when they encounter two unaccompanied girls who appear to be less than ten years old. As they talk to Emily and Janelle, Clint tells them he is a physicist and Derek has an English graduate degree. The next thing Clint knows, he is paralyzed, and Derek has been eaten by Janelle. Clint’s day only gets worse when he is taken to a shuttle where a needle renders him unconscious until he wakes up on a spaceship. The only upside is that he has been given clothing that says DO NOT EAT in the aliens’ language and placed with five other scientists also ‘reserved.’ Unfortunately, 50,000 other humans are scheduled to be butchered and frozen as a food supply for the aliens on their voyage to their home world. Why have the scientists been reserved? What will they do? Are the 50,000 humans doomed? Are those on earth safe?
Clint and the other scientists are compelling characters, and he—and the biologist, Ayesha—become the leaders of the reservists. Their goals are clear, and even though this is a novella, Clint shows significant character growth.
This story takes action and anxiety to new heights alongside a large amount of fighting and gore. But it also shows how resilience, courage, personal sacrifice, hope, and love can bring out latent abilities. While the novella is told in a first-person point of view, it is vividly descriptive and thought provoking. This made it feel like I was experiencing events along with Clint.
Overall, the darkness and intensity of this novel made it a true page-turner. The voice is unique and fresh, and the story delivers on its premise. The ending was impactful and fitting to the storyline, but left a couple of threads open so there could be a follow-up novel. Will there be? I hope so. It was certainly thought-provoking.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Subterranean Press and Kevin Hearne via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for January 31, 2020.