I was kindly sent a digital copy of this science fiction novel ‘The Alt-Worlders’ by the author H M Reynolds. It’s a very unique and dark story, here is my review:
Buildings are burning, screams can be heard and a stale stench fills the air. The world is dying. A group of people smuggle themselves to an alternate Earth, our Earth where they become refugees. Though no-one wants them in this world, they possess something special. Something which will save our world or destroy it.
The Alt-Worlders is a science fiction novel set in modern Britain. Though the prologue takes place in another, parallel world the chapters of the book follow the different characters in our Earth. The first thing you’ll notice when reading this novel is the writing style is different from most modern novels. The paragraphs are very descriptive and remind me of the style of writing found in classic fiction . Although some readers may never warm to this style, if you’ve ever read a classic book then you’ll be able to read and enjoy this one and just like most novels it takes a bit of time to get used to the style of writing.
The story itself is good and contains twists and dark events that I really wasn’t expecting. There are dark moments, usually towards the end of chapters that I found myself shocked at or shuddering at what I had just read. For all the over-descriptive passages, these dark scenes do make up for it as they really are unexpected and make you want to keep reading to see what happens. However the story itself does take time to unfold and the first chapters may well leave you wondering when these darker moments will happen or where the science fiction part of the story is.
The majority of the book is written in the past tense but the prologue and certain scenes are written in a present tense which makes sense as you read through the book. There are a lot of characters in this book and the story moves location to follow all these different characters. It can be confusing at first to remember who is who, but luckily the author has added a ‘watch list’ to the front of the novel giving the names and brief information on all the important characters of the story.
Having so many characters in a novel is not a problem, however the story never truly focuses long enough on one or just a few above the others which makes it a bit harder to connect with the characters.
The overall story does pick up and becomes more gripping the further along you read. Things happen that I won’t reveal but it certainly gets darker the further you go into the novel. The science fiction aspect of the story is really good. I don’t want to reveal what happens but the story is certainly something I wasn’t expecting and this novel is anything but predictable. The ending of the novel though is one that you’ll either be satisfied with or a bit disappointed with. I found the ending satisfying, but the novel leaves a lot of unanswered questions, possibly too many for my liking.
There are various swear words used in this novel including the s and f words, however this is not very frequent. The book has no sex at all but there is drug use. Given this and the dark parts of the novel I would of course not recommend this to kids.
Overall the story is a good one, but not as engaging as I would like due to the slightly over-descriptive writing and not being able to really connect with any characters as much as I’d like to. It’s still a really good and unique science fiction story though with real twists and excellent dark moments which still make it worth the read.
They are refugees from another Earth,
hunted by the authorities and by their own kind.
Their world has been destroyed by catastrophic
change, the same change that has blessed them with abilities hitherto unknown to man.
Now doom threatens to follow from that old Earth to our own.
Will their new abilities help save our world or destroy it?
This is the story of their desperate fight for survival in a world that does not