Alive - Scott Sigler

Genre: YA/Sci-Fi/Dystopia
Synopsis: A young woman awakes trapped in an enclosed space. She has no idea who she is or how she got there. With only her instincts to guide her, she escapes her own confinement—and finds she’s not alone. She frees the others in the room and leads them into a corridor filled with the remains of a war long past. The farther these survivors travel, the worse are the horrors they confront. And as they slowly come to understand what this prison is, they realize that the worst and strangest possibilities they could have imagined don’t even come close to the truth.


Review: This was a surprisingly refreshing read. Being described as similar to the Maze Runner, in addition to the fact that the synopsis is going to make anyone with a vague knowledge of YA Dystopia think of Maze Runner, I will admit that I didn't have high hopes for this novel. At best, I thought it might be an interesting once off read that would give me the dystopia fix I was looking for, bu which I'd probably forget again fairly quickly.

I was wrong. That doesn't mean this is the most amazing piece of fiction I've read read, but it was extremely refreshing and unusual. I loved the setup, I loved the main character, Em, (or M. Savage) from the outset - an angry, scary, changeable narrator - and I absolutely loved the pacing. I actually think the pacing may be one of the best things about this novel - there is a point where a significant chunk of the prose is just the characters making their way along an endlessly long empty corridor - and, having amply worn my patience as thin as the characters, it pulled in a new direction *just* at the right time. Similarly well-timed changes in pace occured throughout the novel, each one usually leading into a totally different, and often very original, plot point. I loved the pigs. I just want to say, I thought the whole pig thing was great.

A lot of the characters were pretty cool, and nobody could accuse this book of not featuring ethnic diversity. Even better, characters are divided up by a marking system that is never actually explained - a feature that reminds me more of the sci-fi that this novel at its heart really is, rather than dystopia. I loved the setting for the novel, and the little twist the baffling location introduced, along with yet more sci-fi elements to explain it. I did feel the rushed explanation towards the end (featuring a horrendously cringe-worthy line) was a little much, and it was a pretty sharp curve from dystopia to all-out sci-fi, but that's probably my only real complaint. All in all, a very fresh sci-fi twist on what has become the standard for YA dystopia.

It's the first in, I believe, a proposed trilogy, and while it could easily have ended perfectly where it did, I'm curious enough to pick up the second book when it comes out.

Rating: 4/5

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