Author: John Connolly & Jennifer Ridyard
Genre: Fiction, Sci-fi, YA
Publisher: Atria Press
Release Date: February 11, 2014
Acquired: ARC from Edelweiss
Date Finished: 2/10/14
Goodreads Description It is ruled by the Illyri, a beautiful, civilized, yet ruthless alien species. But humankind has not given up the fight, and Paul Kerr is one of a new generation of young Resistance leaders waging war on the invaders. Syl Hellais is the first of the Illyri to be born on Earth. Trapped inside the walls of her father’s stronghold, hated by the humans, she longs to escape. But on her sixteenth birthday, Syl’s life is about to change forever. She will become an outcast, an enemy of her people, for daring to save the life of one human: Paul Kerr. Only together do they have a chance of saving each other, and the planet they both call home. For there is a greater darkness behind the Illyri conquest of Earth, and the real invasion has not yet even begun. . . .
I have to admit, I am just starting to edge my way into science fiction, and I typically stay away from anything having to do with aliens and their invasion of earth. I can handle vampires and werewolves all day long, but for some reason, aliens go beyond my realm of comfort. I know, it makes no sense. Anyway, I decided to give this one a chance. I tend to be a bit more adventurous with my ARC requests. (It helps that they are free!) Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised.
The whole thing started off slow. I had to get about 25% into the book before it took off, but once it did, it was non-stop action. I’m used to fantasy, so world building is something I’m accustomed to, but the authors crammed way too much into the beginning before they really got into the story. It read more like a history book, than a novel. I personally prefer to get the story going and get the world building on the fly. Every author seems to handle world building differently, some more successfully than others. It can be done flawlessly, but more often than not, I find it is just something you have to trudge through to get where you’re going.
After the story got its legs, I really enjoyed the storyline. Syl, as an alien, was likeable enough and she seemed believable. I, however, threw my hat in with the human rebels. I guess because the humans were the underdogs here. I always find myself rooting for the underdogs, and I love a book that stirs up my righteous indignation. Syl was pretty much the same way which is why I think I identified with her. She couldn’t handle the unjust treatment of the humans. Her father, as a politician, tried to do the right thing, but unfortunately, he was in the minority. Syl chooses to leave her posh lifestyle and support a cause she believes in. While some of Syl’s decisions were a bit teenage angst driven, I applauded most of Syl’s choices.
The rebels were not as hardened as I would’ve liked. They sometimes seemed more like Robin Hood’s merry band of brothers than a group of surly freedom fighters. I could see that they were written as real, everyday people who were forced into their roles as freedom fighters, but they still seemed a little soft to me.
The Illyri were also very human like. It didn’t take much to forget they were aliens at all. In many ways it seemed like they were just invaders from a neighboring country rather than another planet.
The book is apparently going to be a series based on the very open ending. You are left with a lot of questions. I am actually looking forward to reading the next in the series. Although it had its flaws, Conquest was a fun read. If you are a die-hard science fiction fan, you probably will not like this book. I would label it as gateway or soft science fiction. For someone like me, who is just dipping my toes into the sci-fi pool, it was a good introduction.
I’d like to give a shout out to Edelweiss, Atria Press, John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard for giving me the opportunity to read and review this ARC.