I do enjoy a good apocalypse read. The thought of dying world’s, alien invaders, mysterious plagues, it’s all good stuff that I love to dive into. These books often represent the opportunity for writers to develop fascinating, three-dimensional characters, or characters that you’re not always sure whose side they are on, characters with motives all of their own that they keep hidden until such a time they decide it is right to show their true colours. I also love how Post-apocalyptic fiction can put you anywhere. It can place you in a barren, desolate wasteland, or a future city that is shut-off from the rest of the world, on another planet or in another time and space. So, with all this said, where does ‘The Silent Invasion’ sit?
Well, where do we start? Okay, here we go: ‘The Silent Invasion’ is book 1 of a trilogy and unfortunately it is one that never really gets going, choosing instead to plod along at a leisurely pace, filling its pages with dreary characters, poor dialogue and an all too familiar plot. We follow Callie and her younger sister Gracie as they run from the authorities after discovering that Gracie is infected with “the change”. Their travels take them from Adelaide, then north-west towards Port Macquarie in New South Wales. Yep, you guessed it, ‘The Silent Invasion’ is set in Australia!
This is a good thing! I’ve read far too many books of this type set in the US or the UK so it makes for a refreshing “change” (see what I did there?!) to have this story based in my back yard. Okay, let’s get the bad stuff out-of-the-way! One (of the many) problem(s) is that the characters-so important in this genre of story-are unfortunately emotionless robots with little to no personality and I found it a real struggle to connect or care about any of them. We spend 95% of our time with Callie and she couldn’t be more uninteresting if she tried. Now look, I know this is aimed at the YA market, but please, just give me something or someone here to care about! Then there is Matt, a moody young chap who suddenly decides to help them out, why? no idea-answers on a postcard please to the usual address. And then there is Gracie…….she has been infected, she has a teddy that she really likes and…….and…….that’s about it. To make matters worse, the dialogue is awful and again dreadfully dull. What little is said is often clunky and dripping with cheese, and don’t even get me started on the intro to this book. I mean, what the hell was that all about?! Yet another problem is that the book really isn’t very exciting….at all. Callie and Gracie easily escape from whatever supposedly perilous situation they find themselves in and proceed to plod on to the next escape scenario. It does become repetitive and quickly in the way it goes: wander, escape, wander, escape, wander, escape.
What about the good stuff? Well, as I said before, it is set in Australia, so that’s quite cool. The fungal alien spores are interesting, thought we don’t learn too much about them. It is only a short book, so it doesn’t take long to get through (thankfully, I would’ve given up if it was 300+ pages) and the ending (cliffhanger alert!) was quite good, one that I didn’t see coming. Was it enough to entice me to read book 2? Errrrm, no. It was all too tedious and pedestrian for me and the lousy characterisation and dialogue was the final nail in the coffin.
I hate to give books a hard time, I really do, but ‘The Silent Invasion’ isn’t a good example of how great YA books can be. Avoid like the plague.
If you feel so inclined then pick up a copy from here.