Book Review – ‘United’ by Melissa Landers

More political alien hi-jinx that left me a little… meh.

united-book-review-pic-01-by-casey-carlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction

No. of pages: 317

From Goodreads:

After thwarting a deadly coup and saving the alliance between their worlds, Cara and Aelyx have finally earned a break. Their tiny island colony is everything they dreamed it would be―days spent gathering shells on the beach and nights in each other’s arms.

But the vacation is short-lived.

The treaty between Earth and L’eihr has awakened an ancient force that threatens to destroy them all. The Aribol, mysterious guardians charged with maintaining interstellar peace, deem the alliance a threat to the galaxy. They order a separation of the races, decreeing humans and L’eihrs must return to their own planets within the month or face extinction. In fact, they already have agents in place on Earth, ready to begin.

With the clock ticking, Aelyx and Cara assemble a team of colonists and race back to Earth, where they unite with old friends to solve the mystery of who the Aribol are, what they want, and the real reason the alliance has provoked them. As tensions build to a full-scale war, Aelyx and Cara must fight harder than ever―not just for their future, but for the survival of both their worlds.

Page border by Casey Carlisle
I was really looking forward to this final book in the ‘Alienated’ trilogy. While they haven’t blown me away, they have been a fun, solid read, and was anticipating an explosive ending… but it pretty much fizzled out. There is still political intrigue and some new threats, but lacked the action and all stakes conclusion I was craving. Though we get lots of lovin’ from our main couple, insights into secondary characters, and some of Landers sarcasm.

Cara seemed to have grown up a bit, but still had her moments of adolescence. I wanted more from her role in the Council – if felt as a ‘by the way’ and wasn’t all that challenging for her. A missed opportunity to add some zing to her position in uniting the two cultures. Having faced so much, it felt like she was coasting a bit with the storyline, even though she still gets a lot thrown at her. I have ended up liking Cara more as this trilogy developed, she’s a bit dry, a bit witty, somewhat naive. She lacked some sass and strength, but I guess her personality was suited to the culture of the L’ehir and stood out against typical YA tropes.

Aleyx was a little too goody-two-shoes, and at other times overprotective. I wanted something more from his personality to grab me – he was so bland and vanilla that he bored me. No out-pouring of alien love from me…

The lovey-dovey-ness of our star couple was ample in ‘United’ and by the end, I felt tired of the number of intimate scenes; it didn’t feel like it added anything new to the narrative. These scenes needed something to make them more engaging – it felt very overdone, run of the mill romance… it needed a spicy writing style, or humour to stop the sensation that I was re-reading the same paragraphs over and over. These love scenes were numerous in comparison to the other two books – saccharine sweet, I found myself skimming some parts the further I got into the novel. Not a great sign for a finale of a trilogy.

Additionally, I would have liked to see the technology harder to handle and learn – more obstacles for them to overcome. Have more of the “science fiction” in the narrative. I was left feeling empty in waiting to discover great new things, gadgets, cultural aspects from an alien race. Wasn’t this the big draw card for the series?

I liked the added threat this volume brought. As well as a tinsy wee bit of mythology and origin of the races discovered on theirs, and other planets. I wish we got more though L  Here’s hoping Landers writes elsewhere in this universe to flesh out the history, technology, and many more new discoveries *crossing fingers*

As a result, I felt like there was many missed opportunities that could have made the story more interesting and engaging. Added a layer of difficulty. Many things happened too easily, and/or got resolved too quickly.

United’ is an entertaining read, with a satisfying, if cute, ending. I liked how this last book still left the series open to the possibility of another collection with an undertone of hope. I wouldn’t say I was wow-ed by this final novel, but satiated; and story arcs completed with sufficient dramatic flare. Only recommend this to Landers fans and lovers of the first two instalments.

Overall reaction: oh well… what’s next?

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Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

 

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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