Invasion by Robin Cook
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I picked up this book because it was a bargain, and Robin Cook has a reputation as a successful writer. This is not a typical Robin Cook medical thriller, though. This is Cook's foray into science fiction. There is still a bit of medical thriller in it, but the "invasion," of course, is alien life.
The book begins in a college town with a power surge that wipes out TVs, radios, and VCR's. Remember, this was written in 1997. Cue the Twilight Zone music. Such a cliche' beginning.
Then, an abundance of black discs start showing up. The black discs don't seem like actual rocks or even man-made items because they were sent here to infect humans with an alien virus. Beau Stark, one of the main characters, claims to be "stung" by the object. Later that day, he becomes deathly ill with a violent flu-like virus. The doctors can't cure him, yet they cannot pinpoint anything wrong, either. Hours later, he is not only cured, but full of energy and a different personality.
In fairly short order, the entire earth is being dominated by an alien life form who, of all things, care about the environment. People can communicate without speaking due to a collective consciousness, they smile all the time, and the life forms have typical "alien" characteristics such as glowing eyes, mind control, super-human strength, and eventually, blue lizard-like skin. They are also building a space station preparing for the rest of the aliens to arrive. While I was reading, I couldn't help but think of Stephanie Meyer's novel The Host, which I didn't actually enjoy.
To save the world, a group of six who have not been infected, will need to figure out exactly what the alien virus is, how to stop it, and how to prevent becoming infected.
Sounds like a bad TV movie, right? The beginning was fine, but as the novel wore on, it was difficult to get through it. The characters are never fully developed; they are more like caricatures. It was difficult to relate to or like any of them.
The book contains scientific geek-speak that is mostly meant either to make the author look smart, or to make the reader think there is something terrible important going on that a layman can't comprehend. I don't expect science fiction to be completely feasible, but I do expect a clever plot, dynamic characters, and a compelling plot. For a bargain book, I guess I liked it, but had I paid full price, umm, not so much. Disappointing, Robin Cook. I expected more.
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