Title: Alive (The Generations Trilogy #1)
Author: Scott Sigler
Narrator: Emma Galvin
Publisher: Del Rey (Penguin Random House)
Audio Publisher: Empty Set Entertainment
Release Date: June 14, 2015
Acquired Via: Audible
For fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Red Rising comes a gripping sci-fi adventure in which a group of teenagers wake up in a mysterious corridor with no knowledge of who they are or how they got trapped. Their only hope lies with an indomitable young woman who must lead them not only to answers but to survival.
“I open my eyes to darkness. Total darkness. I hear my own breathing, but nothing else. I lift my head . . . it thumps against something solid and unmoving. There is a board right in front of my face. No, not a board . . . a lid.”
A teenage girl awakens to find herself trapped in a coffin. She has no idea who she is, where she is, or how she got there. Fighting her way free brings little relief—she discovers only a room lined with caskets and a handful of equally mystified survivors. Beyond their room lies a corridor filled with bones and dust, but no people . . . and no answers.
She knows only one thing about herself—her name, M. Savage, which was engraved on the foot of her coffin—yet she finds herself in charge. She is not the biggest among them, or the boldest, but for some reason the others trust her. Now, if they’re to have any chance, she must get them to trust one another.
Whatever the truth is, she is determined to find it and confront it. If she has to lead, she will make sure they survive. Maybe there’s a way out, a rational explanation, and a fighting chance against the dangers to come. Or maybe a reality they cannot comprehend lies just beyond the next turn.
Alive was my first book to read by Scott Sigler, though he is a great favorite of many of my friends. It was a good starting place for me because it is horror without too much gore, among many other things that I would hate to spoil. (Yes, I will be cutting off many thoughts because of fear of spoiling the book.) I will say that I saw many of the twists in the book coming, though it did not make them any less enjoyable.
I haven't read Lord of the Flies in years, but almost as soon as I started reading Alive, I began seeing similarities between the two. Alive is assuredly a nod to the classic. There are power struggles between characters resulting from a lack of "grown-ups" and in a vacuum where authority figures should be. Those are really the only nods that I'll mention because, as I stated before, spoilers.
The main character, M. Savage or "Em", is a very unreliable narrator, which I happen to love. She doesn't remember who she is, how she got to be where she is at, or where she is, for that matter. Em has some definite emotional issues (rage, namely), and those certainly do not lend to her reliability. I do like her because she tries to do what is right, though it is easy to see that it is a struggle at time. She just wants to keep all of the Birthday Children safe, even when she's getting a little distracted by O'Malley and Bishop. And Spingate. But I digress. It would be easy to judge her, but she's "twelve years old", and I had to cut her some slack.
While Sigler's writing was spot on, I was not a fan of Emma Galvin's narration. There was just something off about the speed or cadence of her voice that was a distraction from the story. I finally remembered the speed settings on my Audible app and zoomed her up to 1.25x. It was better, but still no walk in the park. I feel like I'd still be listening to Alive a month from now if I hadn't sped her up.
Though Alive didn't really have what can be considered romance, there was the beginning of a formation of what could be a love triangle down the road. As much as I hate to say it, I even know whose side I will be on.
I'm looking forward to the second book in this series, and there are quite a few things I'd like to know more about. The only thing I can mention without spoiling anything in the book is that I'd like to know more of an explanation of the symbols on the children's heads. In great detail. Immediately.
If you're not burned out on dystopia, you should go ahead and buy your copy of Alive. (Or you can listen to the serialization of it for free on Scott Sigler's website.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an audio copy of the novel from Audible in exchange for a review. No other favors or money was exchanged. This has in no way affected the of the review. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.