Aliens: Sea of Sorrows
Author: James A. Moore (Book 2 in the new Alien Trilogy)
As a deputy commissioner for the ICC, Alan Decker’s job is to make sure the settlements on LV178 follow all the rules, keeping the colonists safe. But the planet known as New Galveston holds secrets, lurking deep beneath the toxic sands dubbed the Sea of Sorrows. The Weyland-Yutani Corporation has secrets of its own, as Decker discovers when he is forced to join a team of mercenaries sent to investigate an ancient excavation. Somewhere in that long-forgotten dig lies the thing the company wants most in the universe—a living Xenomorph. Decker doesn’t understand why they need him, until his own past comes back to haunt him. Centuries ago, his ancestor fought the Aliens, launching a bloody vendetta that was never satisfied. That was when the creatures swore revenge on the Destroyer… Ellen Ripley.
When a group of mercenaries kidnap Alan Decker, they force him to do their bidding or else. Back by The Company (WeylandYutani), he is ordered to capture a “live specimen” of the Xenomorph; the very creature that tormented a distant relative of his.
The planet New Galveston is partially terraformed and houses three very large cities, which are home to millions. But with a living threat buried deep underground, now being hunted by a group of well armed and financed mercenaries, how long will it before that threat reaches the surface and endangers the lives of every citizen…
Alien: Sea of Sorrows is the second book in the new Alien trilogy and is set several hundred years after the events of the first book Out of the Shadows (reviewed here). Indeed, the overall setting is 350 years afterRipley encountered the Alien.
Whilst Sea of Sorrows is set hundreds of years in the future, it still clings on to familiar types in the Alien universe for the reader to recognise such as Colonial Marines and Pulse Rifles (their main weaponary) and even dropships. Whilst these nods are to the original series, it does seem very strange that nothing has really evolved in 350 years!
Indeed another tedious link to the original series is that the main character of Alan Decker is, in fact, a very distant relative to Ellen Ripley and he has a psychic link to the creatures. This link is taken from the events of the previous book, but even then it seems the author is pushing things a little too much in the realms of believability.
There is however a trump card that is played throughout the novel and that is the Aliens (Xenomorphs) themselves. Following on from what has been hinted at and mentioned in the original novelisation and film Aliens, author James A. Moore has taken the hive aspect and thoroughly explored its potential in this book. It’s both horrific and exhilarating to read about the actions and, more importantly, the reasoning of the Alien species.
The reader will certainly want to keep turning the next page to find out about the next drama awaiting our character and the ones we simply know “won’t make it”. There is plenty of action, suspense and more character exposition on the alien species than ever before, though sadly there are no cameos as in the previous novel.
If you have read the previous instalment, you certainly won’t want to miss this. True, the ending may leave a bitter taste in your mouth (though it’s perfectly set up for any future novels) but it’s certainly worth a look despite its failures.
3 out of 5 Nerds