Alien Out of the Shadows is often terrifying and true to the movies it’s based on.
I received a review copy of Alien Out of the Shadows from Titan Publishing. I’m a huge fan of the Alien film franchise, so obviously, it was the very next thing I decided to read. I’m glad I did: I had trouble putting this one down.
So let’s start with the story. Alien Out of Shadows picks up where the first film, Alien, stopped. Ripley is out there floating in space, but before the events of the second film, Aliens, something happens. This book is about that. A mining ship is floating above a planet, but (as to be expected), something goes wrong on the planet below. Two ships returning from the planet to their mother ship, the Marion, have brought something back with them – a lot of somethings. And those somethings are freaking terrifying. Meanwhile, Ripley’s escape shuttle, the Narcissus, turns up, where our infamous heroine wakes up from stasis to discover that her nightmare hasn’t ended. Can she escape the creatures that haunt her dreams again? You’ll have to read to find out.
The first thing I noticed, even in the first chapter, of this book is that it is brutal. Even George R.R. Martin doesn’t kill off characters that early in the story, but author Tim Lebbon has no qualms in doing so. There is a lot of violence right from the beginning and it’s a good indicator that this novel is not a prose-filled fest about what it means to exist, but a non-stop action-adventure that the characters might not survive. And that’s what’s most important in the Alien stories: survival. Of course, we know Ripley has to survive, but what about these other great characters she meets from the Marion? This book goes to great lengths to describe what it’s like attempting to survive in this new horrifying world of aliens.
The aliens, too, are as terrifying as they are in the movies, perhaps even more so, thanks to the imagination of the reader. Lebbon’s depiction of these familiar creatures will keep you up at night and have you hiding under your covers and hoping that thing with the pointy teeth isn’t breathing just above your face. Ripley’s own journey, and her horror and the things she’s been through make the story even scarier, and you can’t help but want to fight at her side.
The only issue I had with this book was how the story was wrapped up, but unfortunately, it sort of had to be done that way, thanks to events that happen afterwards in the Aliens movie. It does, however, work, although perhaps a little too well. Needless to say, this didn’t prevent my enjoyment or the crazy ride of the novel, and I would suggest picking it up if you want to delve further into that world.