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Aliens: Phalanx by Scott Sigler #BookReview

It’s Medieval carnage meets Alien as a pre-industrial society fights against extinction brought about by a massive infestation of Xenomorphs.

Ataegina was an isolated world of medieval castles, varied cultures, and conquests, vibrant until the demons rose and spread relentless destruction. Swarms of lethal creatures with black husks, murderous claws, barbed tails and dreaded “tooth-tongues” raged through the lowlands, killing ninety percent of the planet’s population. Terrified survivors fled to hidden mountain keeps where they eke out a meager existence. When a trio of young warriors discovers a new weapon, they see a chance to end this curse. To save humanity, the trio must fight their way to the tunnels of Black Smoke Mountain–the lair of the mythical Demon Mother.

Aliens: Phalanx by Scott Sigler book cover

Title: Aliens: Phalanx | Author: Scott Sigler | Publisher: Titan books | Pub. Date: 24 February 2020 | Pages: 512 | ISBN: 9781789095258 | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English | Starred Review: Yes | Source: Publisher

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Aliens: Phalanx Review

‘Aliens’ was a massive deal for me in my teens. Blending sci fi and horror in a blockbuster package that ticked all the boxes for me it became a movie I geeked out massively on. I read Alan Dean Foster’s novelisation before I saw the film (and after), as well as a few of the spin off books and comics that came out later. None of them really captured the brilliance of the film for me. ‘Aliens: Phalanx’ doesn’t either, but it’s still a solidly entertaining read which fans of the movie series will enjoy.

What makes the book different from the other xenomorph spin off fiction I’ve read is that does away with the Weyland Yutani/Colonial Marines universe and is set instead on the planet of Ataegina. It’s a primitive world where the previous medieval society has been brought down by “demons” (the aliens) and the survivors now live in isolated keeps. The various groups use “runners”, conscripted teenagers who travel between the keeps, carrying messages and goods, and dodging demons. One such runner is heroine Ahiliyah, a determined young woman in the YA world, who leads a disparate squad of other teens. As the story develops, she fights the aliens, as well as the rigid patriarchal social structure she lives in.

Like the movie, the book has a slow buildup. The world building is good, but the first third of the novel is a bit heavy in that and a bit light on action. Once it gets going though it’s a lot of fun. Gripping and funny, with the occasional scare and a few really good twists. It mixes satisfying YA coming of age themes with tense action sequences to create an entertaining popcorn thriller. Despite the different setting, it’s very faithful to the series, weaving in familiar motifs effectively. This isn’t a book that’s going to set the world on fire, but if you love ‘Aliens’ as much as I do it’s definitely worth a read.

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (Buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inScience Fiction Book ReviewsUnstarred Reviews
©Sci-Fi & Scary 2019
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