4 out of 4 stars
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At the beginning of The Albatross, written by Connor Mackay, alien ships hover over major cities on Earth, including Ottawa, Sydney, Berlin, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Cairo, Beijing, and Tokyo. Several months later, humans learn that they are Lumenarians, and Arthur, commander of the Albatross, a magnificent spaceship, is their leader. The aliens look like humanoid dinosaurs, and their goal is to recruit humans to help them fight a war on their planet. The alien vessels can load around 1.5 million volunteers, and among them are the protagonist (Will) and his buddy Frank, who waited six hours in line at a recruitment camp set up in the Los Angeles Coliseum to enlist.
The enemies, the Forsaken, are enigmas. In 150 years of conflict, none got captured, and the Lumenarians have never been able to penetrate their armor or their ships. An enzyme in their suits releases upon their deaths and destroys any organic material within. In return for human help, the Lumenarians offer to deploy their advanced technology to save our planet. The aliens see that humans mistreat Earth, and they intend to help fix that.
There are several positives worth mentioning in the book. For starters, the science-fiction elements are imaginative, and the author does a great job of describing the technology. I thought this was a noteworthy positive aspect. For instance, the human applicants get tested by the aliens to see if they are biologically compatible with a piece of alien biotechnology that is at once a powerful tool and a weapon. The author skillfully depicts the tech that integrates with the human host to harness the natural energy created by the body. I liked the idea of flooding humans with highly advanced nanites to enhance their energy output. I also appreciated how the aliens used wormholes to cover distances (a traversable wormhole-creating technology).
Additionally, I enjoyed the author’s writing style. Will, his partner Sarah, and Arthur take turns narrating the story using the first person. These different perspectives were what I enjoyed the most about the book. I felt that this kind of diverse narrative, with multiple points of view, gave readers a unique and insightful take on the plot.
Finally, the book seemed professionally edited, and I found no negatives worth mentioning. Thus, I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. It will surely appeal to readers who enjoy sci-fi thrillers. Those who are put off by violence might not like it as much, though, for it has a fair share of blood and gore. It also has an abundance of profanity, so it is a book for adults.
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