Thursday, September 20, 2012

ARC Review: The Assault by Brian Falker

The Assault
Author: Brian Falkner
Publication: Random House Books for Young Readers (September 25, 2012)

Description: It's 2030, and humanity is losing the war against alien invaders. A Band of Brothers meets Ender's Game in this sci-fi military thriller.

A team of six has been chosen . . .

. . . to infiltrate the enemy's headquarters in the heart of the Australian Outback. The six teens have been modified to look like aliens. They have spent years mastering alien culture so that they can talk, act—even think—like their enemies. But from the start, the recon mission goes terribly wrong. It's only when they are close to discovering the shocking truth of the aliens' plans that the team is forced to ask:

Who among them is a traitor?

My Thoughts: This science fiction war story was filled with action. A group of six young people have been trained to infiltrate the headquarters of the alien invaders who said they were coming to seek refuge from their dying planet but who now want to take over the whole Earth. This is the story of how they managed to get into the fortress and what they found when they got there.

The leader of the group is sixteen-year-old Lieutenant Ryan Chisnall. The other group members are his Sergeant Holly Brogan, Specialist Steven Huntington, Specialist Janos Panyoczki, Private Blake Wilton, and Private Trianne Price. Each of the members of the team has a specialty. Price is also called Phantom because she can move with so much stealth, Wilton is a sharp shooter, and Panyoczki is called Monster because he is so strong. 

Chisnall has picked all of them for their strengths but he doesn't know that he has also picked one team member who is a traitor and is working for the aliens. Chisnall has to figure out who the traitor is after Huntington is killed and some important equipment is damaged. But he also has to complete his mission and get to the center of Uluru to find out what the aliens are hiding.

This book is filled with military jargon and lots of various weapons I found that there was a glossary at the end of the story that would have been more helpful had it been at the beginning. There isn't much character development in the story. The whole thing is written as though it was pieced together from mission reports and interviews with the survivors. It begins with a prologue that sets the stage and ends with an End Note that tells what happened to the characters of this book after this adventure ends.

This is essentially a war story. We don't really learn very much about the aliens who have invaded the Earth. While they talk about how our team has to learn the culture and language of the aliens, the actual aliens don't act much different that any human soldier would. Their "alien-ness" is conveyed by their physical appearance which includes a differently shaped skull, different skin tones, and different things they like to eat. They are supposed to have DNA that is 99% the same as human DNA.

I think this story will appeal most to those who really like war stories with descriptions of weapons and battles. I would have liked more character development and for the aliens to be more alien.

Favorite Quote:
He took a deep breath and expelled it slowly, humming to himself as he did. Panic, not the circumstances, was the killer. That was what his combat instructor had rammed home again and again. Fear is your friend, keeping you sharp. 
I got this one from Random House Books for Young Readers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here

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