4 out of 4 stars
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Imagine being abducted by aliens when you are 55 years old. Your human family was a fake one, and you are the sole heir of an extraterrestrial queen who has come to fetch you back. Now the worst part: your wife and the government were aware of it all. This odd situation happens to the protagonist of Homecoming: The Unari Experiment, the first book of a sci-fi series written by Brian Harad.
After the late 2020s, the world is, at last, a peaceful place. In the US, the first Muslim president is briefing his successor about alien species. The government has been aware of them since the 1940s, and they often make contact. This time, Emperor Nojakuu of the Thunerian Alliance arranges a meeting at Camp David. President Drummond and his staff meet with Captain Utari of the Thunerian Destroyer Andromeda, his first officer, and Queen Jata of the Unari. She, her sister, and Sarraqa are the last of their species. The only male is Queen Jata’s son, Byron Hollington, who is alive on Earth, unknowingly disguised as a human. The aliens are here to extract him.
The extraction takes place at a Wal-Mart, and soon Byron is taking off aboard the Andromeda. The protagonist, who henceforth is to be called Thundercloud, undergoes a procedure to activate his Unari DNA and unpack his authentic form. He gets strapped to a medical bed until he accepts his fate, but no spoilers are allowed!
The author does a convincing job of portraying daily life aboard an alien spaceship. Harad’s writing style is clear, and a lot of the action unfolds through well-crafted dialogue. Byron’s voice is credible, and he appears realistically distraught. The protagonist’s difficult adaptation to his new identity, which includes a unicorn-like body and impressive powers, constitutes the center of this gripping story. There is a plethora of detail throughout the book – passages with vivid descriptions of the aliens and their advanced technology. Their physical traits and powers get well portrayed by the author, and the illustrations also add to the worldbuilding.
Additionally, well-woven subplots unfold alongside the narrative of Byron’s transformation into Thundercloud. Captain Utari (who runs the Andromeda), Krysheena (the leader of a highly trained group known as the Chosen Protectorate), and Captain Flecha (who oversees the personal guard of Queen Jata’s sister) are well-developed secondary characters.
With a little more than 200 pages, this book is a fast and enjoyable read; it has no negatives worth mentioning. I give it 4 out of 4 stars. Homecoming has all the elements of a great sci-fi plot, and I look forward to the sequel. It seems professionally edited, for I only found three minor mishaps. I highly recommend it to sci-fi fans. Although there is no sexual content, there’s abundant use of profanity, which the author uses skillfully. Without it, though, I believe the book could target a wider audience and appeal to teenagers as well.
Homecoming: The Unari Experiment Book 1
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