Friday, January 29, 2010
Review: Armistice Day AND Free Book Friday!
Title: Armistice Day
Author: David Drazul
Genre: science fiction
Point of Sale: Amazon / Lulu
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib
David Drazul’s first novel, Armistice Day, is an unusual take on the old alien invasion trope. Set approximately 30 years in the future, the United States has been struck by fragments from a comet and hit by a nuclear warhead. Aaron Osborne is a grunt, fighting in Saudi Arabia, when the aliens arrive. The aliens quickly announce that they are staging an intervention for our own good, and inducting humanity into their Empire. Humanity’s desires as to the matter are not considered.
Now, right about there your typical aliens invade story launches into the battle between humans and aliens. Drazul takes a different path. The struggle between humanity and aliens, at least from the point of the United States, is brief and apparently fairly bloodless. Or at least bloodless enough that, 15 months later, Aaron is working for the aliens as head of a private security firm. Aaron’s firm gets contracted to assist with the security for an Armistice Day treaty signing, scheduled to take place in Shea Stadium in the ruined New York City.
To say things get interesting from there is an understatement. I should also add that Drazul’s aliens are not the monolithic race of TV fiction nor are they the “Walton Family in Space” of Star Trek. There has clearly been some thought put into both alien society and human development.
Armistice Day is a fast-paced action adventure, but one with solid character development. I’ve discussed in previous reviews the need to establish a sense of place – the idea that, wherever the novel is set, it’s a real place and not a movie soundstage. All but the first chapter of Armistice Day takes place in New York City, and Drazul’s native eye paints a very believable picture of a ruined and abandoned place.
Although I found Armistice Day extremely enjoyable, there are a couple of nits I need to pick. In general, Drazul does a great job of handling exposition seamlessly, always an issue in science fiction. However, towards the end his villain does a James-Bond-style speech about why he’s doing what he’s doing. Without some support, such as making the villain a known gasbag, it felt a little flat. Lastly, there were a few minor format errors, including some random italicization. In general, only names of ships or titles of books, movies or TV shows should be italicized.
With Armistice Day, Drazul has delivered a debut novel that anybody should be proud of, and something that’s an example of the good that can be self-publishing.
This book is this month's Free Book Friday! To win, post a comment below and we'll draw a name out of a hat. Please put an email address in your reply!
Note – I received a hard copy of the book reviewed, which will be raffled off.