August 3, 2015

Book Review: Alienated (Alienated #1) by Melissa Landers

Alienated (Alienated, #1)
Rating:  /5

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Alienated has been on my TBR list for quite some times. The eye-catching cover was the first thing that draws me in. Also, sci-fi is my top second favorite genre after contemporary so this book easily caught my attention when I first saw it on GR. Too bad I just had time to read it now since I’ve been too engrossed in contemporary ones.

First of all, I like the basic concept of Alienated that ―compared to other sci-fi books I’ve read before― is quite fresh to me. Majority of sci-fi books I know often brings up alien as cruel invaders of Earth but Ms. Landers comes up with a different idea through her Alienated series. In this book, alien is represented as friendly extraterrestrial being that actually want to work together with humans through some sort of mutualism. This is such an interesting concept that for once we get to see aliens and humans building a friendly relationship instead of having a war in some invasive action. I couldn’t help being curious of what kind of mutualism both parties would create.

Aliens believed that there must be another living creature besides them in the whole galaxy. So they had been going on some journey to find them, not only in their galaxy, but also to another galaxy possible to reach. Earth was found 10 years later since their first journey and became the first planet with living creatures that have the same anatomy as them. So two years ago, L’eihrs ―the aliens who conduct the intergalactic search― finally make their first contact with humans.

Fast forward to present time, L’eihrs and humans have come so far to the level of both parties agree to do a student exchange program to learn more good possibilities before an alliance is made permanently. And this… is where the story begins.

Cara Sweeney is one of the three ‘luckiest’ students who are chosen to join the exchange program. It means she gets an excessive amount of scholarship which would be an amazing deal considering how her family’s financial issue has been really bad, but in returns she and her family have to be the host for one of L’eihrs’ students for eight months. It sounds pretty easy, until she realizes that her life is about to turn upside down in every way possible ever since Aelyx, the L’eihrs who gets to stay with her, takes a step to her small comfy house.

I thought this book would use first POV from one main character or better, alternating first POV from both main characters. But it’s not. And I think it’s a bit unfortunate because I couldn’t get to learn their emotions closely, being the third person in the story and with the abrupt perspective changes time to time. It somehow makes the chemistry between me and the book so thin and slowly fading away throughout the story. I don’t know but first POV always makes me feel understand every book much better because I could feel the emotion exactly as what the characters feel. Good thing Ms. Landers writes Alienated in a fun tone with amusing female main character, Cara. So even if I couldn’t really get the chemistry built up, I enjoyed reading it.

The opening chapter is quite engaging for me. It starts with Cara joining exchange program through one-sided decision of L’eihrs. She doesn’t even apply for one but there she sits at principal’s office, being told she is to be the host of some cold emotionless alien from galaxy thousand years light away. The situation is a bit comical and intriguing at the same time. Although, the use of some foreign L’eihrs terms like, sh’alear, l’ina, sh’ovah, sh’ad, asheem, and sh’ellam (yes, I dutifully highlighted them all while reading) make me a bit light headed at first. But don’t worry, because we get the explanation one by one along the way (even if sh’alear isn’t going to be explained clearly from the first time it is mentioned at 3% until around 90% where I yelled ‘DAMN, finally someone answers my question!’).

Aelyx is your typical cold, insensitive, gorgeous-as-hell alien. He loathes being a part of the exchange program but he has no choice other than obeying the command. Humans are repulsive and Aelyx believes that alliance between aliens and humans would be a great disadvantage for his people. That’s also why he agrees to stay on Earth because besides the given mission of learning more about humans and Earth, he and his two other partners in the program have another mission to conduct. That, until he meets his host which turns out is nothing like what he thinks human is all along. At first, Aelyx is amused on what Cara keeps doing to make his stay on Earth as comfortable as possible but the more he witnesses her determination, the more he feels something strange for the human girl. For an alien standard, Aelyx is quite naughty. He’s so quick to pick up humans’ behavior of having racy thoughts of opposite gender. He does it a lot to Cara. Guess every boy is the same, no matter what your kind.

Cara, smart, brave, determined, and funny is usually my favorite kind of female mc. Truthfully, I like her especially on how determined she is to do her job as a good host for Aelyx. She experiences such a cliché high-school tragedy (breaks up with her boyfriend of three years, loses her best friend of six years, and becomes the school’s pariah ―which happened in a whole new level because it involves an alien in the process) and how she deals with them, I like it.
But then…
Then she did something totally jaw-dropping which made me, well, drop my jaw. It happened during the first climax in the book and I was totally like… wow girl. Since then it’s difficult to see her in the same way because somehow that scene shows her true color towards her closed people. It’s too much, I think. I mean, Cara’s practically still a high-school student, and to think she’s capable to do such non-sense thing just for a sake of ‘love’? Well. I am speechless, really.

What’s so good is how the romance between Aelyx and Cara is built. I like that they go through a lot before realizing the attraction between them. I always feel weird of insta-love, especially for such ‘forbidden’ one. It’s good that their relationship starts as strangers turn program partners who help each other turn friends turn lovers. Their feelings grow up slowly through a plain togetherness. I love when they’re together where Aelyx becomes so caring and shows a lot of emotions for Cara. What makes it off is how at one point, their love changes Cara into such an irresponsible and rebellious seventeen years old girl. 

This book has other characters with various characteristics from hideous to lovely. Hideous like some of Cara’s friends and Aelyx’s. Lovely like Cara’s parents. I like it so much that her parents do their job as parents very well. It’s really sad that their kids don’t really show as much love as they do to them.

Even though there are things that I dislike about this book, I still am curious on how things would turn out in book two. The cliffhanger isn’t so bad but I just wish there will be more progress on the sequel and more pace on the plot. Alienated feels more like an introduction of the series. And I hope Invaded deals with the main issue of aliens-humans alliance continuation. Oh, and I hope to see more of L’eihrs’ planet because we only get a tiny glimpse of it here.
I guess I’ll settle with 3.5 points for book 1 but I’m hoping to give more for book two!

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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