Review: The Escapers by L. J. Monahan

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Rating: 2/5 stars – not for me

Alien invasion. Human prisoners made into mindless zombies. A desperate plan of escape. These events drive the sci-fi novel The Escapers, the first book in the Alien Harvester SeriesL. J. Monahan begins by painting the pleasant country life of a boy named Bryce who lives in Alhambra, California. However, the idyllic scene is quickly shattered when the Imjac, Earth’s new alien overlords, bring their harvesting ships to Bryce’s hometown. Bryce, along with his cousin Amanda and some others from his high school, are captured. When they find themselves forced to work for the Imjac on a distant island, they know there’s only one way to avoid certain death: escape. 

Monahan’s writing was absolutely solid. Not a typo was in sight, and sentences were clear and concise. In addition, his descriptions of the island were colorful and beautiful, providing perfect fuel for a reader’s imagination. There was nothing to fault in these technical aspects of the book. 

The actual story, however, left much to be desired. The characters were the biggest issue, as they remained stagnant throughout the whole book. Most of the main characters felt more like stereotypes than real people: Bryce was the brave hero, Amanda the scared, helpless girl, Jamal the brainy kid, Jason the chill dude, and Darius the bully. Bryce didn’t have any kind of character arc, which made the whole story seem flat. Overall, this made the book difficult to get through, as there weren’t any interesting characters or relationships to bolster the plot in the middle of the story.

Additionally, some key parts of the book didn’t add up. It’s likely that Monahan is saving some information for the sequel books, but without any explanations for certain events, it sometimes felt like the plot was driven by contrivance. The most pressing question was: why does Bryce feel a connection to alien technology? Without even the hint of an explanation, it made Bryce’s ability feel like a plot device used to make him special. Also, why would the Imjac give humans free access to their greatest weakness? Why had no one tried to use it on them before? 

While I do applaud Monahan for his great writing and the monumental task of putting a book together, the story of The Escapers fell short for me and I unfortunately can’t recommend it.

Original review posted on Reedsy Discovery, where I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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When you write as much as I do, you have to take frequent breaks from sitting. A standing desk (not a whole desk, but a mini desk that will sit on top of my current desk with my laptop, keyboard, and mouse and extend upward) will allow me to continue working while maintaining that good blood flow to my brain. Thank you so much for your support that allows me to keep producing free content. God bless you! ♥️ E.J.


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