The Orphan Army (Nightsiders #1)

Title: The Orphan Army

Author: Jonathan Maberry

The alien Bugs have invaded humanity. With their giant Hive ships in safe in space, their drop ships deliver swarms of shocktroopers and worse to stomp out what bits of humanity survived the initial attacks. Milo Silk knows the history, of course. He was even alive back before, and can faintly remember what it was like before everything changed. But he’s fairly happy in his current life, as comfortable with the world as anyone can be—until he finds the wrecked ship. The pyramid. And his world turns upside down in a whole different way . . .

This was interesting, although more of a thriller than I had been expecting. The pace stays snappy throughout, and Milo is an interesting main character. He dreams, and frequently his dreams hint at things that happen in the world. Mostly they’re bad things, because it’s a hard world to live in, and he doesn’t give them a lot of thought (although he does write them down in a dream journal). I liked Milo’s voice, his thoughts, his decisions. I liked how he’s young, but he’s still capable (but not unrealistically).

It was even a pleasant surprise to find much more of the villain’s motivations laid out than I had anticipated. The method does leave me wondering if, perhaps, Milo is not more than most people suspect (Evangelyne and her cohorts may have something of a clue). And although the odds stacked against Milo appear truly insurmountable, the clever way he wins his victories here shows that it may not be all about who’s the strongest in the end.

Since this is the start of a series, I presume the actual Nightsiders will get more time later. Here it’s mostly about Evangelyne, and Milo finding out about her. Much of this book is more about worldbuilding: the general state of humanity, the swamp in Louisiana where Milo currently lives with a band of refugees, and some hints of the larger universe.

Overall this is a pretty quick read that was fun, although I wish I had another book or two on hand to flesh the plot out a bit more. I rate this book Recommended.

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