I do love YA science fiction, even if it doesn’t seem like I read enough of it. So, in an effort to go about changing that, when I heard about this one, I decided that I was going to read it, because it sounded like something I would absolutely love.
When I started reading Dark Energy, I was hooked from page one. In fact, I started this late at night and I was up until after three in the morning reading it. I thought this was going to be one of the neatest books I had picked up in a while, but it quickly went south as the story went on, and there’s one major reason for it.
Dark Energy lacked a believable storyline. The characters were kind of “blah,” and I couldn’t connect to the whole “alien invasion” thing.
The main character, Alice, is taken from her happy, sunny home in Florida and moved to the site of an alien ship crash, with her father, who works for NASA. This ship is absolutely huge, several miles long, and killed thousands of people when it landed. While Alice is sent off to her new boarding school, her father takes off to try and make sense of the ship. Alice is forced to watch the coverage on the news, and eventually, when the aliens finally get out of their ship (several days after they landed), they are surprised to see how human-like they are, with the exception of their language. These aliens call themselves “Guides,” and promise to help share certain knowledge with the human population. When two of them are sent to Alice’s new boarding school to take classes and get integrated with the rest of the school, Alice is quick to try and befriend them, especially the female alien, Coya, who becomes her new roommate.
As time goes on, and Alice and her friends get to know these new students, they also have the ability to help Alice’s father by taking pictures of the inside of the ship. There they uncover some pretty frightening things, and when they ask Coya and her brother about them, they clam up and don’t want to discuss it. However, when things get a little more frightening (when a new set of aliens come to seek out the first set), we learn all kinds of things that make us see how horrible their lives were before they crashed on Earth.
The beginning of this book was really promising, although I’ll admit that Alice’s character was a little annoying at times – her attitude, how she felt she was entitled to the best of everything (her father pretty much bought her a brand new BMW, gives her credit cards, etc), but I did like that she accepted herself for who she was and the close relationship she had with her Native American grandmother, who lived on a reservation in New Mexico.
Her quick ability to make friends seemed a bit unbelievable, and the other characters (with the exception of Coya and her brother) seemed kind of typical and didn’t have much in the way of special personalities going on, which I thought was a bummer (at least when there’s a main character I don’t like, I love when there is a supporting character that I can connect to, because it makes the book a lot better).
Maybe I’m a bit rough on this, but I really expected pure awesomeness. I was kind of bummed that I wasn’t blown away. I have seen quite a few positive reviews for this one, so I guess I’m in the minority for thinking this book was a little lackluster, but I would still recommend it if you like science fiction. It just seemed a bit more YA drama rather than science fiction, and perhaps if I’d known that going into this, I would have had different expectations.
Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.