Alone (Generations #3)
“We thought this place was our destiny—not our doom.”
Pawns in a millennia-old struggle, the young people known only as the Birthday Children were genetically engineered to survive on the planet Omeyocan—but they were never meant to live there. They were made to be “overwritten,” their minds wiped and replaced by the consciousnesses of the monsters who created them.
Em changed all of that.
She unified her people and led a revolt against their creators. Em and her friends escaped an ancient ghost ship and fled to Omeyocan. They thought they would find an uninhabited paradise. Instead, they found the ruins of a massive city long since swallowed by the jungle. And they weren’t alone. The Birthday Children fought for survival against the elements, jungle wildlife, the “Grownups” who created them . . . and, as evil corrupted their numbers, even against themselves.
With these opponents finally defeated, Em and her people realized that more threats were coming, traveling from across the universe to lay claim to their planet. The Birthday Children have prepared as best they can against this alien armada. Now, as the first ships reach orbit around Omeyocan, the final battle for the planet begins.
What I Liked:
This action-packed conclusion raises the stakes far and beyond anything seen in the first two books—with nigh-cinematic combat scenes including jungle, Aztec-inspired streets, and full-scale space battles.
At long last, readers receive the answers they’ve been waiting for throughout the previous installments. Answers regarding how humans reached Omeyocan, what drew them there, and why other species have been fighting over the planet. Lesser issues are addressed as well—including the reasoning behind the symbol-based caste system, and some attempt at explaining why the original Matilda Savage became the self-obsessed monstrosity we’ve come to know in the previous books.
I loved the concept of the null symbol. It fit in exceedingly well with the whole self-made destiny threads, and offered a powerful chosen identity image at the same time. I wish it had come into conception earlier in the series.
The ending proves somewhat satisfying—open-ended enough to allow for a possible future revisit, but leaving off with a solid sense of closure.
What Didn’t Work For Me:
Unfortunately, this reader has enjoyed the series less with each successive book. In part, because the literary efforts toward a game of information keep-away. While this felt generally well done and mysterious in the first book, the second book progressed a lot of immediate plot while holding back too many clues and tidbits about the overarching premise. The result was what felt like excessive revelation-purging in this final book.
To be honest, this book nearly lost me at the halfway point.
I realize it can be argued that everyone’s thoughts are being warped and logical thought processes are in question. But ultimately, this feels like a cop-out. The constant question of how much characters were actually making their own decisions within their own characterization became a continual point of frustration. It also worsened the sense of feeling more distant from the characters than we had in the first two books.
Minor Spoiler: The big twist cause of everything feels a lot like the premise for season 2 episode 2 of the Voltron reboot. I can’t tell you which idea came first, but I can tell you I preferred the show’s handling.
-The eventual love triangle came seemingly out of nowhere, and the romantic elements in general felt flat. After Em has been in a romantic relationship for a year, one might expect more depth to her thoughts in this area. Instead, her emotional development seems to have arrested. She spends an aggravating amount of page-time obsessing over a guy she (technically) hardly knew who has now been dead a year. It was difficult to care about whether she "loved" him more or differently than the guy she's currently in a relationship with. (He’s not coming back, and no other options better suit her among their very limited population.)
-On a similar ‘Em-is-less-sympathetic-each-book’ note, her judgmental behavior toward Spingate went on well past the point of reason. Even after she learns what’s causing the increased aggression in everyone—and she herself nearly commits murder thanks to said cause’s manipulations—she continues to treat and regard Spingate as morally inferior to herself.
-Another element that landed wrong for this reader was the portrayal of religion. The initial incorporation of ancient Aztec aesthetics, words, and vague religious elements was interesting—not something I’d seen done before. The glorifying of violence and human sacrifice fit in unsettlingly well with the premise, and had the grand added advantage of being essentially an extinct religion (and so no more a point of potential offense than the more overdone tapping of the Greek or Roman pantheon.) In this book, however, the concept is introduced of a fusion of three existing religions. The corrupt and abusive sect that Em’s progenitor came from uses leadership titles that strongly imply an inexplicable mix of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. This ended up feeling antithetical--more thrown in rather than well thought out.
The wrap-up was well tied off at most points, a strong resolution without a clear-cut “winner.” If your focus is on sci-fi tinged action, you’ve come to the right place.
They had me at Hunger Games. It was also similar to Maze Runner. As I read my mind was conjuring up creatures from Avatar. The story line is amazingly creative. It was so engaging I could not put it down.
The main character’s self-talk was somewhat cheesy at times. But I realized the necessity to convey the emotions and thoughts. By the third book it was much less frequent. I was surprised how many twists and turn were left for the third book. Many trilogies lose a little momentum by the third book, this one did not.
I loved the ending. It was very creative and fitting to the story line. I didn’t see it coming but really liked it once it unfolded.
Excellent story. I highly recommend this trilogy.