Image Map

Alienated by Melissa Landers eARC {3.5 Stars}

Alienated by Melissa Landers is the first book in a new series that tackles the question of what might happen if a peaceful alien race stumbled across our little planet. Alienated is on the light and fun side, though it definitely shows a grittier side from time to time. While Alienated falls into the typical trap of sexy alien boy and special human girl falling in love and trying to save the world, it also tackles some much more serious themes of discrimination and the extent to which people will go when they are filled with hate and fear of the unknown.

Note: I received and ARC of Alienated through Netgalley for an honest review. Somethings might be different in the final version.

Alienated by Melissa Landers eARC {3.5 Stars}

Alienated by Melissa Landers (Alienated #1)
Published by Disney Hyperion on February 4th, 2014
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 352 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

3.5 Stars

Strengths:

  • Alienated quite impressed me with a realistic story of how the meeting between our species and an intelligent but peaceful race of aliens might go. I found myself playing through scenarios while reading to decide if I thought the human governments would actually do what they do in Alienated and I have to say yes. It was fun to read a story that required much less suspension of disbelief than normal for my preferred genres ;-).
  • The writing in Alienated was quite readable and amusing with plenty of quippy dialogue. I didn’t find myself laughing out loud, but there was definitely a pleased chuckle or two.
  • When I first started Alienated, I expected it to be fairly fluffy (the cover doesn’t really help this expectation….), but Alienated proved to be more intense than I gave it credit for at first!
  • You know how we always talk about absentee parents in YA? Well, Alienated has supportive and adorable parents who are a bit PDA, hehe.
  • I find myself frequently rolling my eyes at the portrayal of teens in YA, since they are often way more mature or way too dramatic than really is typical. Alienated didn’t have this problem, since while there was some teenage love angst and drama, it was not any less than I experienced when I was that age. Everything is the end of the world during those years ya know? ;-)

Weaknesses:

  •  Alienated tackles very significant discrimination against the alien foreign exchange students and some of the dialogue around this discrimination left a bad taste in my mouth. I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the treatment of the alien students and the treatment of black students in the civil rights days as well as the treatment of LGBT students today. This means that when Cara didn’t call out her “friends” for hating Aelyx the alien just for being an alien, I got a bit uncomfortable. That’s not really the message that I want to be reading about ya know?
  • The scare quotes around friends is because there is some major friend failing in Alienated. I got quite pissed off at the ease with which Cara’s friends abandoned her just for not being a bigot and the ease with which Cara seemed to forgive them despite them continuing to be openly discriminatory.
  • The romance got a bit cheesy with all the alien courting rituals, haha.
  • There is a momentary reference to how the alien race L’eihr and humans share DNA, but it’s written off as a myth. If the L’eihr are so evolved and intelligent, I really would expect them to be interested in how it’s possible that two species from different planets share genetic code, given that biologists are quite convinced that all life on Earth evolved from one source due to all life sharing the same A’s, T’s, C’s, and G’s. The L’eihr and humans pretty much have to be related based on our current understanding of biology.
  • The ending was a bit convenient, tying back to the light and fluffy feel of Alienated, after getting my hopes up :(.
  • The cover completely white-washes Aelyx, since he’s described as looking multi-racial with brown skin and brown hair. Also his hair is supposed to be long enough to pull into a ponytail and it doesn’t look like it is on the cover.

Summary:

Alienated is both a fairly well thought out alien story and a fluffy and fun romantic sci-fi. Hardcore sci-fi fans will probably not enjoy Alienated as much, however if you tend not to be interested in sci-fi and aliens, think about giving Alienated a try, since I think there are elements that many different kinds of readers can enjoy. I’m interested to see where the Alienated series goes, since at this point it could latch on to those grittier aspects or it could stay amusing and light.

3.5 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Alienated by Melissa Landers

© 2013, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. I have this one sitting on my shelf that another blogger gifted me. Now I’m just not as excited to read it haha
    Pabkins recently posted…Short Story Review: Charmed I’m Sure by Elliott JamesMy Profile

  2. I love your review, Anya! I thought this looked really good and squealed at your good points. It doesn’t hurt that there are ACTUAL PARENTS in this with some PDA! But the bad points are disappointing as well. At least I’ll be prepared now :)
    Sunny recently posted…A Preview of ILLUSIVE by Emily Lloyd-JonesMy Profile

  3. Interesting review Anya! Yours is the first I’ve read from a fellow sci-fi lover so I appreciate the perspective. I’d heard tons of wonderful things about this one so I definitely want to get into it soon, but I appreciate your warning to the more hardcore sci-fi fans out there. I may not be an expert, but I think my love for sci-fi is greater than most of my fellow bloggy friends so your concerns there hold some weight – I’ll definitely be better prepared when I finally do read this one! Thanks for the insight ^^
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Harry Potter MotW #21My Profile

    • Definitely! The romance is swoon worthy for sure, but don’t go in expected very worked out sci-fi elements, haha.

  4. Yep…you know we felt about the same about this one. I am curious to see where the next book takes the story–hopefully it’ll be a slight improvement. I totally agree with all your points. ;-)

  5. I’m so excited to read this! A little disappointed with how you mentioned that the discrimination is handled (especially the “friends” who abandon Cara for being a good person?!), but I’m really excited for a sci-fi-light romance, lol. I’m just gonna have to get past that awful cover. I still can’t believe Disney-Hyperion let that out into the world. -_-
    Nikki recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (#30)My Profile

    • Yeah, Cara needs to pick better friends…. Right?? I thought it was shiny and whatever at first but was then just ugh…. ugh!

  6. Interesting. I’m curious, I know you said Cara was a bit too forgiving for your taste, but what did you think of the overall portrayal of the discrimination issue? Did it come across as preachy and/or agenda-fulfilling, or was it pretty organic and fitting in the story?

    • I wouldn’t say preachy since there was no one preaching against the discrimination really, so probably more on the organic side, though it felt a bit too extreme for me since I thought too many people were getting too angry. I mean, peaceful aliens would be awesome!

      • Haha. True, peaceful aliens … unlikely, but awesome. :)

        Extreme … that does scare me. I think there are (at least) three ways to be preachy/agenda-toting: throw things in just for the sake of saying them, even if they have nothing to do with and/or don’t flow with the story; constantly remark upon your preferred view, usually to the point of annoyance; and/or use the descriptions/story to completely vilify those with whom the author disagrees, usually with zero redeeming qualities to balance it out.

        Not that I think hate is an appropriate response to discrimination of any kind (agreeing to disagree, yes ;) ), but preachy/agenda-toting texts on just about any subject tend to feel bogged down by their messages and make for less fun reading for me. Have you found that, too, or does it depend on the subject or the amount of page time devoted to it? It’s like the writing professors say, right? If you write with a theme or message in mind, it’ll show, badly; go back and subtly outline the thematic elements later.

        • I guess it seemed realistic and fit with the characters just because I’ve actually encountered plenty of people who really act like that. There was a definite Rush Limbaugh feel to it of slightly ridiculous bigotry ya know?

  7. Aside from the way you mentioned discrimination is handled, it does sound like it would be a fun book to read. I’m trying to get into sci-fi more and maybe this will help transition me. Thanks for reviewing!

    • Fun is a good way to describe it! I think I’m sensitive to discrimination issues for various reasons and I know that my book group didn’t have such strong reactions, so it might not bother you as much, haha. Though now I’ve pointed it out so I’ve cursed you ;-) If you’re working on sci-fi then this would be a good one to ease in with :)

Speak Your Mind

*

CommentLuv badge