Dark Energy

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Dark Energy
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Age Range
12+
Release Date
March 29, 2016
ISBN
978-0062275059
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We are not alone. They are here. And there’s no going back. Perfect for fans of The Fifth Wave and the I Am Number Four series, Dark Energy is a thrilling stand-alone science fiction adventure from Robison Wells, critically acclaimed author of Variant and Blackout. Five days ago, a massive UFO crashed in the Midwest. Since then, nothing—or no one—has come out. If it were up to Alice, she’d be watching the fallout on the news. But her dad is director of special projects at NASA, so she’s been forced to enroll in a boarding school not far from the crash site. Alice is right in the middle of the action, but even she isn’t sure what to expect when the aliens finally emerge. Only one thing is clear: everything has changed.

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3 reviews

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3.5
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3.3  (3)
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3.3  (3)
Overall rating 
 
3.0
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3.0
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3.0
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3.0

Aliens...Science Fiction

Dark Energy is a Young Adult Science Fiction story about aliens. The main character is named Alice and her father works for Nasa so they are brought to the crash site of the aliens for her father to work. Alice is enrolled in a school nearby that houses full-time high school students called Minnetonka.

The story is all about how Alice and her friends view the aliens arrival and the subsequent events that follow. You get a in-depth look at how it would feel if aliens actually did descend on the earth and how the government would react.

I really enjoyed the story being told by Alice and her friends and the experiences they went through and the honest reactions that each of the characters had as the dealt with the arrival of the aliens.

The plot twist was very interesting to me and really grabbed my attention and made me want to keep reading. Overall, this was a very interesting book and if you like science fiction then I would definitely try it out!!

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Twist on alien invasions

Alice's father is an important NASA researcher, so when an enormous space ship crash lands in the Midwest, killing a large number of people, he is sent to investigate. Because he will be working long hours, and Alice's mother (who was an enrolled member of the Navajo) is deceased, he enrolls her in exclusive Minnetonka School for the Gifted and Talented so that she can be near him and not too far from her grandmother. She settles in fairly well, enjoys her two science loving roommates, as well as the amusing Kurt, but watches with horror as the drama with the spaceship unfolds. Originally, the ship was thought to hold 130,000 aliens, but only a few Guides come out, including Mai, who seems to be the leader. His children are Coya and Suski, who look very much like pale humans, and they are also enrolled at Minnetonka. Armed with translators, they quickly learn the ways of humans, and Alice comes to think of them as friends. At one point, Alice and her friends are allowed to explore the ship, and find some very disturbing scenes. This, along with the fact that genetically Coya and Suski seem to be descended from the Anasazi/Ancestral Puebloan people and their language is connected to Keresan, makes Alice wonder about the origins of the Guides. When a huge secret is revealed, there are bigger problems, and Alice and her friends go on the run to try to save themselves as well as Coya and Suski.

Good Points
I loved the huge plot twist-- I probably should have seen it coming, but completely did not! It ties in beautifully with Alice's heritage, and the fact that she and her friends go to her grandmother's home in New Mexico brings in more details about Navajo life. It is rare to see First Nations people in fantasy or science fiction books, and the author has a note at that back about the lengths to which he went to make sure the details met with the approval of tribal members he knows.

The atmosphere of being in an exclusive, remote private school and having a cataclysmic event happen is very appealing, and even readers who don't necessarily want to read about aliens will be intrigued by the book because of it. Alice's father is from a wealthy east coast family, so she drives a very expensive car, and while she has lived mainly in Florida and gone to public school, she does well at making friends immediately.

The aliens in the book are well done, and even the fact that they look human is addressed with humor. The technology to help them learn language is believable, and the things they enjoy and do not enjoy about US teen life are amusing.

Readers of Jeff Hirsch's and Veronica Roth's dystopian books will enjoy this, as will readers who have watched too many books about alien invasions! Anyone who has read Falkner's The Assault will know that you have to be careful when aliens come to our planet-- not only can't you give them just a tiny bit of Australia, you have to be cautious if they want to set up tent cities in Minnesota! This is a fantastic choice for any reader who has an interest in life forms other than our own.
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(Updated: January 19, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
3.3
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Dark Energy

Five days ago a UFO crashed in the Midwest. Alice's father is in NASA and gets to investigate the ship. To keep her close by, Alice finds herself sent to a boarding school not far from the crash. Then the ship opens and aliens appear that aren't the stereotypical green creatures but rather look very human. The leader promises he's here to teach the world peace but others, including Alice, have reservations. Then the children of the leader are sent to the same boarding school. No longer does anyone know what to think of the aliens. Only one thing is sure--things have changed.

Want worked: I'm a huge fan of Sci-Fi novels. Think Roswell meets Star Crossed. The dialogue in this novel is very punchy. I especially loved the banter between Alice and her father. The author does a great job showing the affection they have for each other. This is a huge plus as so many YAs have a tendency to either kill off a parent, make them dysfunctional, or have them totally clueless. Kuddos for showing a strong family relationship that does have it's own quirks.

Alice is biracial--Navajo and Anglo. I love the passages which shows her interactions with her Navajo grandmother. Alice is spunky, impulsive, curious, and bright. Things heat up when one of the alien teens becomes her roommate. The interactions between the aliens and humans isn't all positive. There are some that don't like their presence.

The aliens did remind me of the now cancelled CW TV series STAR CROSSED right down to them crashing on Earth, being detained by the US government, to the children of the leader going to the nearby boarding school. But that's where the similarities end.

The background behind the aliens was very intriguing and goes along with an ancient legend. I won't say anything more only to say that that part of the novel helped with the mystery behind them and the whys behind them coming to Earth.

One thing that did slow down an otherwise engaging plot had to be how fast the climax of the story came. It felt almost too rushed and not fleshed out enough. Since I'm not Native American, I felt I couldn't really point out if those scenes were authentic or not. At times though, a few of the depictions did bother me. The author does mention at the end of the book that he stayed with a tribe and went through a sacred ceremony. He then showed them the scenes and cut back until they were happy with the representation. He also acknowledges that he did the best of his ability by having multiple Native readers and on site research.

There are bloody and gory scenes. One scene in particular is especially graphic. This happens after Alice's father volunteers her and her roommates to investigate parts of the ship that he and his workers at NASA couldn't get to yet. The huge reveal on what really went on the space ship is very grisly. Add to that the bloody final confrontation between Alice, her roommates, and the aliens. The full impact of the conflict though goes by so fast it's not as disturbing as THE FIFTH WAVE.

Fast-paced engaging Sci-Fi tale where a crashed alien ship reveals a startling secret that involves everyone on Earth.

Good Points
1. Great banter
2. Intriguing premise of where aliens might have come from
3. Lots of action
4. Think Roswell meets Star Crossed
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Different Twist On Alien Invasion

This was an intriguing and enjoyable read - yet, not what I expected. The snarky dialogue between Alice and her dad is both humorous and loving. The friends Alice makes at her new school are fun, intelligent, and kind of unexpected for an expensive boarding school and the budding romance is sweet. Being the fangirl I am, I also enjoyed the references to superheroes. Aliens landing on our planet isn't a new concept for a book, but Dark Energy gives it a different twist - which is a good thing, but still didn't quite work for me.

With this story, the reader has to seriously suspend their disbelief - and I don't mean because of the aliens. I'm referring to the actions of the characters. Something this epic happens and a few days later a couple of aliens are attending high school? Teenagers are allowed to explore the spaceship when there are still so many unanswered questions about the aliens and what occurred on the ship - without their parents' permission? There are several more instances, but no spoilers here. The actions and reactions just didn't seem realistic or grounded in the real world.

Dark Energy is a quick, entertaining read that held my attention, but isn't the more 'serious' type of alien invasion book I was expecting. If you're looking for a fun, sci-fi type of story, this one's for you.

Thanks to Edelweiss for the digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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