Title: Solar Warden: Alien Hostiles
Author: Ian Douglas
Published by: HarperCollins
Publication date: 9th Dec 2021
Genre: Science Fiction
New York Times bestselling author Ian Douglas delivers the action-packed second military sci-fi adventure in his Solar Warden series, set in a wildly imaginative alternate present where conspiracy theories are terrifying realities and reptilian aliens team up with Nazis in space.
By exposing the sinister Saurians, Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander Mark Hunter and his team have more than proven themselves. Yet the war between humanity and the intergalactic aliens has only begun – now they must save themselves and all of civilization.
The JSST – the Joint Space Strike Team Hunter has put together from all branches of the U.S. military – is again deployed on board the Earth starcraft carrier Hillenkoetter on a mission to probe a possible historical connection between the Saurians and the Nazi Third Reich. At a planet called Paradies orbiting the red giant star Aldebaran, they discover a long-rumored colony of expatriate Nazis … and the beginnings of a plan to enslave Earth under Nazi – and Saurian – rule.
With Earth at stake, governments deeply compromised, and evil at the door, Solar Warden must fight together to end it all … even if it means sacrificing everything.
I was given a copy of Alien Hostiles by publisher HarperCollins in return for an honest review. I hope that, despite the lower rating, you approve of the review and thank you for the NetGalley approval, hopefully, next time, I’ll be able to write a more positive review.
This is one of those cases that is very much ‘It’s not you, it’s me.’ I found out about Alien Hostiles via an email from NetGalley, thought the book sounded good, and requested a little gung-ho.
Alien Hostiles is the second book in the Solar Warden series and makes reasonable sense as a stand-alone. There’s some background covered early on in the book that I assume is the story of the previous novel, it’s explained with some relative ease and sets the tone for the story to come. A story that seems to cover all the bases of conspiracy theory. Nazi living in Space, Lizard-based humans, Roswell Aliens, telepathy, and time travel all feature heavily in Alien Hostiles and while Ian Douglas does a good job of making them sound utterly credible there is just so many high-level-thinking concepts thrown into the novel that made it feel a bit bogged down with its own weight.
It felt like juggling all the components together in a successful manner came at the detriment of other elements to the book; mainly in the form of leading characters and cohesive plot. The main character Mark Hunter, former Navy-Seal, blended in a little too well with the rest of the characters in the story that they merged. I didn’t feel any reason to connect with the characters and they seemed to be lacking in individuality – aside from Ace Pilot Duvall – that I struggled to keep up with what each individual was doing at any given point.
Another gripe I had with this book was due to the world-building elements the plot got lost. Far too concerned with packing in the conspiracy theories into the narrative the plot just seemed to get swallowed up and misplaced. It felt like there was a real lack of driving force behind any of the plot’s progression other than it being another quirky theory of days gone by. Not being au-fait with all things conspiracy, I feel like I missed the trick with this book and because of that, I couldn’t attain the right levels of disbelief to really get to grips with it all.
However, what has been written is well-crafted and expertly delivered. The writing style – when not bogged down with technical details surrounding world-building and theories – is easy enough to read. There is an ease to the dialogue and the pages that concern characters speaking to one another are a highlight of the book – it’s just a shame the characters involved in these conversations just all fall a bit flat.
I never should have requested this book and feel like I did a huge disservice in this review. Flat characters trying to prop up an over-burdened narrative stuffed to the brim with conspiracy theories, set against a highly-detailed military sci-fi backdrop.