Sunday, July 20, 2014

Conquest by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard

Book description:

Earth is no longer ours. . . .It is ruled by the Illyri, a beautiful, civilized, yet ruthless alien species. But humankind has not given up the fight, and Paul Kerr is one of a new generation of young Resistance leaders waging war on the invaders.

Syl Hellais is the first of the Illyri to be born on Earth. Trapped inside the walls of her father’s stronghold, hated by the humans, she longs to escape.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Syl’s life is about to change forever. She will become an outcast, an enemy of her people, for daring to save the life of one human: Paul Kerr. Only together do they have a chance of saving each other, and the planet they both call home.

For there is a greater darkness behind the Illyri conquest of Earth, and the real invasion has not yet even begun. . . .

Conquest by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard is the first volume in The Chronicles of the Invaders.  This is a great introductory volume in what looks to be an exciting series.  The book takes place largely in and around Edinburgh, Scotland.  I found the setting to be a refreshing change for an alien invasion/occupation story.  The countryside and the history of Scotland played as important a role in the story as the characters.


The aliens were nicely detailed, both in their character’s descriptions as well as their internal politics and history.  The authors pick up the story after several years of occupation giving us a look at how earth’s population settles into an uneasy equilibrium with its invaders.  The aliens are highly advanced, but not invincible.  There is an active human resistance but it is largely cautious and just barely coordinated.  


It becomes clear that the Illyri invaders are still hiding secrets, both from the humans and from each other.  The main plot moves forward largely around four young people who become inadvertently entangled in each other’s lives; two Illyri girls and two human boys.  The romantic angle involving these four is my least favorite part of the book, but it is a fairly minor quibble.  The romance is understated, but it seems unnecessary to the plot.  The adult characters are compelling and the book moves forward at a good pace.


Hidden agendas and secrets are everywhere.  It gradually becomes clear that the future of two civilizations is in the balance.  Each answer revealed leads to more questions.  Some of the actions are truly evil and hint at a great danger remaining, perhaps to both races.


Conquest does a good job of telling a complete story in and of itself while simultaneously setting the stage for much more exploration of its universe.  The story leads to an action packed climax and sets the stage for the next entry in the series.  I’m very much looking forward to seeing where this story goes from here.  Highly recommended.

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.