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{Review} Alen: Sea of Sorrows by James A Moore

by James A Moore
Published by Titan Books on July 2014
Genres: Horror, Sci-Fi
Pages: 313
Format: Paperback
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Though this is the second in a new trilogy of novels set in the Aliens universe, Sea of Sorrows only ties in with Tim Lebbon’s opening novel Alien: Out of the Shadows insofar as it has a common setting. But the action takes place about 300 years after the events of that novel, ensuring there are no repeat characters to follow along for the ride. Instead, we get Decker, who, as the blurb reveals, is a descendent of Ellen Ripley. This means that the Aliens harbour a particularly impressive grudge against him as they somehow know he is a descendent of Ripley – the human they identify as The Destroyer – and feel an all compelling desire to rend him limb from limb…

So, yeah. This book is basically the futuristic version of Jaws: The Revenge.

If you can manage to make your mind suspend its disbelief past this point, the rest of the novel is pretty darn good. The writing is decent, the set up is good, and the action set pieces are more varied than that of the previous novel. All the Aliens tropes are also in place: Ill-advised effort to capture the aliens by Weland-Yutani? Check. Reluctant guide who knows more than the fighting types he’s going to accompany into the lair? Check. Shady bureaucrat who is only concerned with profit and his/her own safety? Check and check (there are two). Mayhem and slaughter with an increasingly small cast trying to get out of said lair alive? Check. It’s like Moore took the film Aliens and wrapped it in a slightly varied outer shell of goodness, so if you liked that, you’re not going to go far wrong with this.

My issues are small but significant with the primary among them being the cast is simply too large. Only a few of the mercenaries that accompany Decker down the mine shaft are detailed enough to be discernible; some have a single character trait that is meant to define them (eg. Silent Dave); others get introduced and a character point is emphasised only to go nowhere (eg. Piotrowicz and his recording of everything for money). Then there is the ending, which though it wraps up the events on New Galveston in an acceptable way, leaves several plot threads hanging. Given the next book goes back to provide more detail on the aliens on LV-426, I was hoping for something a bit more final here. I can’t even hope the survivors of Sea of Sorrows might tie into events of Alien: Resurrection since the dates between this book and that film don’t match up (the book taking place about a hundred years after the film). Hence, some frustration on my behalf …

Recommended to anyone who is also a fan of the Aliens universe.

3.5 Malfunctioning Mining Lifts for Sea of Sorrows.

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