Saturday, 22 March 2014

Eliza Green

Becoming Human


* Please note: This is the review of a copy I purchased May 2013, and since then the author as told me she has updated it to match her much stronger writing skills to bring it in line with the proceeding series.

Without looking at the cover, the title made me wonder if the genre was a vampire (or werewolf or ghost). The cover was powerful and definitely eye-catching but didn't match what the blurb said at first glance: polluted and overcrowded Earth. The road leading to the high-rise buildings looks very lonely, but maybe this wasn't earth? Anything that makes you stop and wonder is a good thing. Becoming Human is clearly a science fiction book and I'm quite keen to begin reading.

The opening blurb was amazing: Two worlds. Two species. One terrifying secret. Exciting! It went on to describe the book in a straight-forward way that was professional and interesting.

The look inside opened to the prologue and it was hard stay interested, and I must admit, I scrolled forward to the meat of the story. In chapter one I was introduced to Bill Taggart, the main character of the book, but back story had me scrolling forward again. Not a good sign.

After chapter one I'm taken into the POV of one of the aliens, bizarrely called the very human name of Simon, but I feel a connection with this alien (he is a species called Indigenes). His race feels like the 'underdog' from the beginning and together with the name: indi-genes, I already think I know the outcome. Can't wait to find out if I'm right! I buy the book...

But then comes chapter three and I'm taken into the POV of another character, and not until chapter eight am I back with the lead character Bill. Whose story is this? With so many characters I'm having trouble connecting with any of them! The main character's chapters (Bill) seems to be pure back story, the others are full of explanations of new technology so I'm really struggling.

The child, Ben (Bill and Ben, two similar names that is normally a no-no in writing) doesn't ring true. I can't engage with him and can't possibly imagine an eight year old out alone on his own with these 'dangerous' aliens running free. But then the child doesn't feature again after appearing in two chapters--not in this book anyway.

There was one person I warmed to out of all the characters in this book and that's a character called Laura. She's living on the over-populated earth and the author really does well in making the future earth sound like a horrible place to be. Laura gains some potentially dangerous information about the main character Bill Taggart and struggles with what to do with it (the govt. has evolved to be very mysterious and harsh). I'm lost though. The reader isn't told what this information is, only that Laura is worried. I also don't know why Stephen and the other aliens have gone to earth, or why they thought befriending a child would give them the necessary leads to get them there, neither do I know why, if all Stephen wanted was Taggart's help, is why he went to Earth (when Taggart was on Exilon 5), only to find Laura Hamilton so she could approach Taggart on their behalf.

Then I find out that the Indigenes are highly intelligent (much higher IQ than humans) so again the above makes no sense.

Two chapters from the end the story picks up, and my theory was correct. Basically, Becoming Human tells the story of how a future earth copes (not very well) with the population growth of humankind, and instead of altering a planet's composition to accommodate humans, the world govt. alter the humans DNA to fit with the planet's. Becoming Human could potentially be a brilliant book and I wonder if the author grew into the series as the time went on?

The ending wasn't concluded, but I think it ended at the right time, and the entire series will need to be read to get a better understanding of Exilon 5 and its inhabitants.

There were no grammar or spelling issues, but a strong edit for redundant characters, POV control and a back story tidy is recommended.


Two Worlds. Two Species. One Terrifying Secret.

In 2163, a polluted and overcrowded Earth forces humans to search for a new home. But the exoplanet they target, Exilon 5, is occupied. Having already begun a massive relocation programme, Bill Taggart is sent to monitor the Indigenes, the race that lives there. He is a man on the edge. He believes the Indigenes killed his wife, but he doesn’t know why. His surveillance focuses on the Indigene Stephen, who has risked his life to surface during the daytime.

Stephen has every reason to despise the humans and their attempts to colonise his planet. To protect his species from further harm, he must go against his very nature and become human. But one woman holds a secret that threatens Bill’s and Stephen’s plans, an untruth that could rip apart the lives of those on both worlds.

BECOMING HUMAN, part one in the Exilon 5 trilogy, is a science fiction dystopian adventure that you won’t want to put down.