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Book Reviews

Review: “Alienated,” Melissa Landers

April 3, 2014
Review: “Alienated,” Melissa LandersAlienated (Alienated #1)
Written by Melissa Landers
Published February, 2014 by Disney Hyperion
352 pages
Genres: Aliens, Romance, Sci-Fi
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three-stars

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore.

It took a lot for me to eventually warm up to Alienated, but by the end of the book I finally felt that I was at least a little invested in these characters and the relationship between Cara and Aelyx. Despite forgettable supporting characters and an irritatingly slow narrative, there was light at the end of the tunnel – Alienated was at best enjoyable, but nothing awe-inspiring for me.

I had been waiting to read this one for MONTHS. It’s eerily similar to the CW’s show Star-Crossed, but thankfully our leading lady Cara isn’t as cringe-worthy as actress Aimee Teegarden. I actually liked her for a lead character and could relate to her a whole lot on the ‘blogging’ aspect of things.

Another thing I highly enjoyed about this was the absence of rampant ‘insta-love’. It takes a while for Cara and Aelyx to actually warm to each other, but when they do there is actually some fireworks. I wasn’t impressed that they were throwing around the ‘l’ word so soon after hooking up, but what can I say? Two worlds seemed to be at stake. I also couldn’t justify Cara’s willingness to give up everything she knows for a hot guy so quickly, but then again I’m not the one rolling around the floor with a smoking hot L’eihr exchange student.

Aelyx himself was intriguing. It took me a while to actually ‘like’ him, but he goes through a pretty huge personality transformation throughout the book which was fun to watch.

The supporting characters in this one just weren’t that fantastic, which is a shame because they could’ve added some great depth to the story. I’m one of those readers who immediately latches on to secondary characters instead of usually-annoying leads, but in this case there weren’t any to be found.

I was shocked at a character death near the end of the book (I won’t give away anything else) and I think that really amped up the stakes for Cara and Aelyx. It somehow made the human threat more realistic. Before the death, the human protests and threats just really didn’t hit home to me.

The ‘action’ scenes left a lot to be desired and I just couldn’t feel the fear when the main offenders were high-school jocks toting firearms and golf clubs. I would have liked Cara and Aelyx to be thrust into some real world danger and be more on the run than they were. I guess we’ll see where this goes with Invaded, the second book in the series.

I really enjoyed learning about L’eihr culture and once Cara was immersed in their world (a small percentage of the book, regretfully) I found the story a lot more interesting. I guess there was only so much normal, everyday exchange student activity a book this size could take.

Looking back, it’s easy to forget that I was a little bored with the majority of the book. I mean, there were really interesting elements – everything just seemed to drag on and on. I think Melissa Landers has some amazing ideas and her leading characters are likeable enough – I just would love her to step up the game a bit more with the next one.

I will be reading Invaded, because Alienated left off on an interesting note and I am more than curious to know how the relationship between Cara and Aelyx will evolve, as well as the L’eihr alliance with the humans.

Recommended to: An enjoyable read, but nothing mind-blowing. Still, there’s a cute little story to discover here in Melissa Landers’ debut novel.

About Melissa Landers

Melissa Landers is a former teacher who left the classroom to pursue other worlds. A proud sci-fi geek, she isn’t afraid to wear her Princess Leia costume in public—just ask her husband and three kids. She lives just outside Cincinnati and writes adult contemporary romance as Macy Beckett.

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