4 out of 4 stars
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A plane crashes in 1948. Several passengers barely escape drowning. In present times, a delivery man stumbles upon more than he bargained for and barely escapes death in the ensuing car chase. Meanwhile, there are five teenagers in Montana suffering from amnesia. These events may seem obscure, but as "Aegis Incursion" progresses, they weave together in an intricate web that will often have you exclaiming at "aha" moments.
Did I mention these are just the events from the prologue? Hang on to your seatbelts!
At the beginning of the book, we meet Jag, Kody, Mariah, Teegan, and Aari, five young people who set out on a road trip to rediscover themselves after struggling through a year of amnesia regarding the events of the previous summer. On the trip, they hear snippets from the news about a blight on the world's crop harvest that even the experts are struggling to explain. Little do the five teens know that the destroyed crops are just the beginning of a global domination plan...a plan that somehow includes them. Their memories--flashes of a summer spent with a tribe of enlightened beings who taught them to hone their innate abilities--return in bits as they near their California destination, and just in time, too! What follows is a tale of kidnappings, espionage, escapes, and subterfuge as the main characters use their super abilities to chip away at the evil corporation that continues to haunt their paths as it quests for a new world order. Along the way, the teenagers meet several people who train them not only to use their powers wisely but to prepare themselves to fulfill the Aegis prophecy. Said prophecy appears in the first book of the Aegis League series, "Aegis Rising", but the second installation actually reads very well as a stand-alone novel. I had not read "Aegis Rising" before I began its sequel, but I had very few problems following the storyline.
This book is packed beginning to end with intense, heart-pounding action, but the author also uses witty dialogue and short, descriptive passages to imbue her writing with a natural rhythm. Her two greatest strengths--pacing and organization--make this a young adult thriller that's hard to put down. She tells the story from many perspectives, and at the beginning of each chapter, she switches to a new scene or person. Because of this organization, the book reads like a puzzle. You get bits of information at each step, and the closer you get to the end of the book, the more of the big picture you can see. Her cryptic style of writing, employed specifically to keep the reader guessing, would actually be off-putting if it weren't for her incredible sense of timing. She perfectly balances the high-octane action scenes that keep the story moving forward with shorter, dialogue-free explanations to entice her audience.
The intended audience--namely, advanced young teen readers up to older teens--would easily connect with her cast of main characters. Jag, Kody, Mariah, Teegan, and Aari weren't created in a writer's vacuum to have impeccable speech and perfect responses. They talk like today's teenagers talk, with incomplete sentences, slang, and a lot of sass. Though their struggles tend to be wilder than those facing today's average young adult, their responses are realistic. They show emotion. They act impulsively. More importantly, they accept each other unconditionally, a theme that resonates strongly with the current generation of young adults. My one complaint about the characters is the lack of a stand-out leader. The author uses omniscient third person perspective to give her readers a more personal view into each of the main characters at some point in the book, and her cast of supporting characters is well-developed too. However, in mainstream YA literature, the major selling point is the one character that readers latch onto. I'm talking Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, or Tris Prior. While the main characters of "Aegis Incursion" are all likable and unique, there is no stand-out character that ties the whole story together.
Besides that, my issues with this book are few and far between. I'm amazed at how well revised and edited the final copy is. I could count grammar and spelling errors on one hand...and this is a story told in four parts! Occasionally, I ran into a few descriptions or conversations that could have been shortened or eliminated from the story without drastically affecting the plotline, but overall, this book was a thrilling read from start to finish. The more I read, the more impressed I was with the writing style, the organization, and the research the author put into her book.
If Daniel Silva and Rick Riordan had a love child, it would be the young S. S. Segran. With the intensity of an adult spy thriller and the relatable characters that teenagers enjoy, "Aegis Incursion" takes YA Action, Adventure, and Fantasy to a new level. All I can say is, "When is the movie coming out?!" I heartily recommend this book and its precursor "Aegis Rising" and rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
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