Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"Invasion: C.H.A.O.S #1" by J.S. Lewis (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

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Overview: Colt McAlister is just an average 16-year-old boy. That is until his parents mysteriously die in a car crash leaving Colt to move to Arizona with his grandfather. While in Arizona, Colt tries to discover the truth behind his parents' death. Colt believes that his parents' death was no accident.

While looking to uncover clues Colt discovers that his mom was investigating a secret mind control program that was being run by one of the world's largest companies. In an effort to make sure that his parents death wasn't for nothing Colt decides to uncover the truth behind the world's largest company, Trident Biotech.

As Colt starts to uncover secrets he is quickly and drawn into a secret world that involves flying motorcycles, aliens, shape shifters and secret gateways between alternate universes.

Format: Invasion is a sci-fi/mystery/government espionage YA novel. It stands at 320 pages and was published by Thomas Nelson on January 4th, 2011. It is the first book in a series known as C.H.A.O.S.

Analysis: I'm by far not a fan of science fiction. Show me any book that has anything to do with aliens and you can pretty much bet that it'll end up being passed over. However, there is something that drew me to Invasion (I have to admit it was the pretty color combination and errie vibe I got from the book that pulled me in). Luckily, I'm glad that I was able to read Invasion as it was a fun, quick read.

Invasion starts off with Colt taking part in a series of tests for secret organization. The book quickly jumped to Colt living a normal life until his parents are killed in a car crash. This car crash leaves him to leave his home in California and lived with his grandfather in Arizona. Colt doesn't believe that his parents were killed naturally but instead believes that there could be some type of cover-up going on. As Colt tries to uncover the mystery behind his parents death cult discovers that the world is much larger than he believes and uncovers a secret government organization and a corporate conspiracy.

It should be noted that Invasion is the first book of a series and it follows all the traditional setups of a first book of a series. The first half of the book deals with developing characters that are essential parts of the story. This means that the mystery part of the novel is only gleaned over in the first half in favor of developing the main characters Colt and Dani. The mystery, action and government organization elements don't really come in until the second half of the book but it is well worth the wait.

One of the elements that I really enjoyed about this book was the way that the author talk some historical elements surrounding World War II and made them part of the secret government organization. There isn't too much focus on this history part but there was just enough that it really gave it a nice flavor and really fit in nicely with the rest of the novel.

While I really enjoyed the book and thought it was a great YA sci-fi novel there is one thing that I would definitely change. This first book in the series is definitely heavy on the corporate conspiracy and mystery element but really, really light on the alien portion. If I had my way I would definitely put in more aliens and the novel. However, it is guaranteed that there will be more aliens in other books in the series.

Another element that I would've changed was the fact that the secret organization was introduced in the first chapters of the book and then there was a major gap before was reintroduced to the reader. During this the reader is not greeted with aliens are shape shifters which could be a big confusing.

Overall, I found Invasion a delightful read. It was quick, fast paced, filled with interesting characters and a plot line that isn't traditional of other YA novels. This is definitely a read for those that are looking for some shape shifting action, some cool teenagers, wine motorcycles and a corporation that is larger than any other corporation who's trying to secretly brainwash people. I can't wait to see what happens in the other books in the series.

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