Official Review: A Message from the Neighbours

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any fantasy or science fiction books or series.
Forum rules
Authors and publishers are not able to post replies in the review topics.
Post Reply
Atara Miles
Posts: 212
Joined: 22 Sep 2019, 17:26
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 16
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-atara-miles.html
Latest Review: Days of the Giants by RJ Petrella

Official Review: A Message from the Neighbours

Post by Atara Miles » 31 Oct 2019, 04:09

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "A Message from the Neighbours" by Vincent J Hyde.]
Book Cover
2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


A futuristic utopian novel, A Message from The Neighbours is the first book of the titular trilogy by Vincent J. Hyde.

Nearly half a century into the future, Earth has reached its ideal. With all of the planet fully explored and united, the only problem faced is the exhaustion of all its resources. When an intelligence signal is finally detected from the unknown vastness of space, it promises another revolution to rocket science to near indefinite levels, as well as the danger that comes with the unfamiliar. Leaders of the planet convene to design a strategy, sending two astronauts to investigate the alien object. With new information gathered about extraterrestrial lifeforms, Earth’s place and standing in the universe becomes an even greater mystery and the actions taken subsequently may have an even greater impact on the world than one could imagine.

I appreciated the introduction and prologue. They armed me with the basic knowledge of history and terms to foray into this new fantasy world I knew I’d be absolutely clueless about. The terms mostly speak for themselves and are capitalized (re: ‘The Neighbours’ in the title) to aid understanding and plot processing. I’d advise readers to actually read these (I know some of us don’t, generally) as they provide a lot of background data and puts the story into perspective.

The concepts presented in the story were products of interesting vision. There were theories conceived and discussed that forced me to analyze and review, something that not every book can do. This world still maintained quite a few similarities with ours. The seemingly eternal war between religion and science as it relates to whose argument trumps whose is basically the same, though it appears a deeper correlation between the two is visible. Even with all the advancements of that civilization, it remains an issue deciding human lives as statistics – the sacrifice of little for the safety and longevity of the many or vice versa. I stuck through the story mostly due to these segments and the debating topics of the plot.

I have so many questions. Probably the most prominent one is centered around the fact that English is the universal language spoken in this perfect slice of heaven. Looking at the benefits, I can understand why this may seem like a desirable objective. It’s obvious that this erases language barriers, thus facilitating communication, trade, sets a global standard and so on, but what about the unavoidable drawbacks? Won’t other languages eventually cease to exist (note that these are never mentioned or referred to in the story) and cause, even further, an eradication of culture, history and diversity? Why English? This seems so presumptuous and reflective of the same callousness that led to colonization, enslavement and genocide.

The tone of A Message from The Neighbours is so technical it read more as an academic article than a fictional novel. Honestly, the story took the form of a high school chemistry-physics-biology tribrid lesson that made the nerd in me victory dance and sloth-me cry phantom tears of misery-induced trauma. It even had bullet points, diagrams, subheading and tables. It dealt with a ton of scenarios that spoke of how receptive humans are, or not, to change and novelty. This made the very short, four-chapter book seem taxing to complete.

The lack of any real conflict really bugged me. There was no adventurous or adrenaline-spiked element - not a single spark to rev my obstacle-thriving engines as one would expect from a novel written in the science fiction genre. There was no opportunity for suspense as everything is fed by the bowl in one huge swallow. Hyde did not hold back. There was a deluge of information that was not helped by the repetition of information and limited by the shortness of the novel (three hours of reading length on average) so everything was jampacked in one go.

All the characters in A Message from The Neighbours collectively had the personality of raw tofu. The most obvious markers were the stereotypes and clichés for each person: the agnostic, Tom Strange, was a bitter cynic; Dr. Lamb and Dr. Pawn with the self-explanatory names were the sacrificial astronauts; and the women blush and get nervous when given attention. I’m noticing a trend with science fiction novels where the AIs seem to have more of a personality than the actual people themselves, as in the case of Interface, the token robot.

Hyde’s story was void of any voice. This took out most of the entertainment factor generally present in fiction books. The novel seemed moderately well-written as I found only simple, rare errors. I do not believe the novel was professionally edited.

I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. I do not recommend this book to readers who enjoy a thrilling, action-packed novel with vibrant characters and an engaging storyline. I believe those who enjoy theories and debates would prefer this novel and it is suitable for audiences of all ages.

******
A Message from the Neighbours
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

User avatar
La Cabra
Posts: 80
Joined: 04 Apr 2019, 10:05
Currently Reading: Jag är Zlatan
Bookshelf Size: 412
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-la-cabra.html
Latest Review: We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz

Post by La Cabra » 09 Nov 2019, 03:01

Oof from start to end, this book sounded like it'd be a bit too dull to entertain me. I love a good sci-fi, but it's usually the less sciencey elements of the book that attract me to the genre. The sciencey setting is what I like, I guess (like Enders Game!). You're too right about AI being depicted with more personality than actual people, it annoys me to no end.
But I imagine a lot of other readers will like this sort of story (like I only liked the first book in the Ender series, but the rest are quite popular among other readers still). Great review :)

User avatar
AntonelaMaria
Posts: 396
Joined: 17 Apr 2019, 14:31
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 113
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-antonelamaria.html
Latest Review: E-M-P Honeymoon by Dorothy May Mercer

Post by AntonelaMaria » 09 Nov 2019, 12:29

Thank you for the great review! I think I will give this book a pass as I don't enjoy tofu either way :lol2: . I'm not really into "technical" novels. Maybe the author will improve in the next installment.

User avatar
Falconcrest
Posts: 202
Joined: 23 Jun 2019, 13:09
2019 Reading Goal: 100
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 15
Currently Reading: The Girl In White Pajamas
Bookshelf Size: 105
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-falconcrest.html
Latest Review: We are Voulhire: A New Arrival under Great Skies by Matthew Tysz

Post by Falconcrest » 09 Nov 2019, 14:43

It's unfortunate because the title of the book is very intriguing and I would have thought it would be a great story. Unfortunately, I won't be reading this one. I hope the author takes your advice and revises his book. Thanks for the remarkable review.

User avatar
Madiha_
Posts: 7
Joined: 17 Jun 2019, 10:31
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 7
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-madiha.html
Latest Review: Arsenic and Old Men by Glenn Ickler

Post by Madiha_ » 09 Nov 2019, 17:34

I like sci-fi books, but this one looks a bit complex because of the technical tone you mentioned it has. Thanks for such a good review!

User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 9259
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2019 Reading Goal: 95
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 76
Currently Reading: Sunshine at the Academy
Bookshelf Size: 307
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
Latest Review: Forever Will End: Gospel of Chaos Book One by Dom Brandt

Post by kandscreeley » 09 Nov 2019, 20:12

This plot sounds terrific. It's right up my alley. It's too bad the characters are so stereotypical. I hope the author can do some revisions and make this truly great.
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
-Louisa May Alcott

User avatar
spluficvictory
Posts: 173
Joined: 19 Aug 2019, 11:16
2019 Reading Goal: 50
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 26
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 205
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-spluficvictory.html
Latest Review: Demon Heart by David Crane

Post by spluficvictory » 10 Nov 2019, 15:44

I enjoy a thrilling, action-packed novel with vibrant characters and an engaging storyline and I didn't appreciate the fact that there was a single adventurous element in this book. I love a good SciFi book but I think I'll pass on this one. Thanks for the review 👍
“Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real.” :techie-studyingbrown:

Atara Miles
Posts: 212
Joined: 22 Sep 2019, 17:26
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 16
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-atara-miles.html
Latest Review: Days of the Giants by RJ Petrella

Post by Atara Miles » 11 Nov 2019, 16:31

La Cabra wrote:
09 Nov 2019, 03:01
Oof from start to end, this book sounded like it'd be a bit too dull to entertain me. I love a good sci-fi, but it's usually the less sciencey elements of the book that attract me to the genre. The sciencey setting is what I like, I guess (like Enders Game!). You're too right about AI being depicted with more personality than actual people, it annoys me to no end.
But I imagine a lot of other readers will like this sort of story (like I only liked the first book in the Ender series, but the rest are quite popular among other readers still). Great review :)
Thank you! I love most sci-fi books simply because of the, as you said, 'sciencey' element, but I was almost bored to death reading this one.

Atara Miles
Posts: 212
Joined: 22 Sep 2019, 17:26
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 16
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-atara-miles.html
Latest Review: Days of the Giants by RJ Petrella

Post by Atara Miles » 11 Nov 2019, 16:33

AntonelaMaria wrote:
09 Nov 2019, 12:29
Thank you for the great review! I think I will give this book a pass as I don't enjoy tofu either way :lol2: . I'm not really into "technical" novels. Maybe the author will improve in the next installment.
I really hope he does because the book seems like it has a great technical premise, just not very engaging to readers.

Atara Miles
Posts: 212
Joined: 22 Sep 2019, 17:26
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 16
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-atara-miles.html
Latest Review: Days of the Giants by RJ Petrella

Post by Atara Miles » 11 Nov 2019, 16:35

Falconcrest wrote:
09 Nov 2019, 14:43
It's unfortunate because the title of the book is very intriguing and I would have thought it would be a great story. Unfortunately, I won't be reading this one. I hope the author takes your advice and revises his book. Thanks for the remarkable review.
Exactly! When I first picked up the book, the first thing I noticed was the length, though I didn't let that deter me. I suppose it's geared more towards people who enjoy the science part of science fantasy than the actual fantasy. I do hope the next book improves, too. It'd be a waste if the potential in this story isn't fully taken advantage of.

Atara Miles
Posts: 212
Joined: 22 Sep 2019, 17:26
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 16
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-atara-miles.html
Latest Review: Days of the Giants by RJ Petrella

Post by Atara Miles » 11 Nov 2019, 16:37

Madiha_ wrote:
09 Nov 2019, 17:34
I like sci-fi books, but this one looks a bit complex because of the technical tone you mentioned it has. Thanks for such a good review!
You're welcome! I hope the next book explores the more adventurous side I can see the book taking.

Atara Miles
Posts: 212
Joined: 22 Sep 2019, 17:26
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 16
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-atara-miles.html
Latest Review: Days of the Giants by RJ Petrella

Post by Atara Miles » 11 Nov 2019, 16:38

kandscreeley wrote:
09 Nov 2019, 20:12
This plot sounds terrific. It's right up my alley. It's too bad the characters are so stereotypical. I hope the author can do some revisions and make this truly great.
I do too. Hyde has a decent plot, he surely can do some finessing and make it more palatable to readers.

Atara Miles
Posts: 212
Joined: 22 Sep 2019, 17:26
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 16
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-atara-miles.html
Latest Review: Days of the Giants by RJ Petrella

Post by Atara Miles » 11 Nov 2019, 16:39

spluficvictory wrote:
10 Nov 2019, 15:44
I enjoy a thrilling, action-packed novel with vibrant characters and an engaging storyline and I didn't appreciate the fact that there was a single adventurous element in this book. I love a good SciFi book but I think I'll pass on this one. Thanks for the review 👍
You're welcome!

Post Reply

Return to “Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books”