Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Review: The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman

Title: The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman
Author: Brady Stefani
Publisher: SparkPress
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 4/5 "I liked it."

Description from GoodReads
Fifteen year old Courtney wants to be normal like her friends. But there’s something frighteningly different about her—and it’s not just the mysterious tattoo her conspiracy-obsessed grandfather marked her with before he disappeared. She's being visited in her bedroom at night by aliens claiming to have shared an alliance with her grandfather. And imaginary or not, they're starting to to take over her mind. “Mental illness is a slippery slope,” her mother warns her.

The last thing Courtney wants to do is end up crazy and dead like her grandfather did. But what about the tattoo? And the aliens trying to recruit her? With her new alien-savvy friend Agatha and her apocalyptic visions, Courtney begins connecting the dots between the past, present and future—of her bloodline, and the ancient history that surrounds it. Is she going insane, like her family claims her grandfather did, or is she actually a "chosen one" with ancestral connections to another world? Either way, Courtney has a mission: untangle her past, discover the truth, and stop the apocalypse before it's too late for everyone.

My Thoughts
I was a bit skeptical about this book at first.  Typically, I like my science fiction to be a little less alien filled.  But something about this cover drew me to it and I knew that I just had to give it a chance. I am glad that I followed my gut on this one.

First, Stefani did a terrific job bringing his characters to life.  I thought that Courtney was whiny, annoying, and a general pain in the butt.  However, I'm pretty sure that this is what Stefani wanted the audience to think of her.  It makes it much easier for us to see her growth that way.  She definitely goes from being a follower to being a leader and I enjoyed watching this transformation.

My favorite character, however, was Agatha.  I like the idea of having a kick-ass Goth/Metal chick also be an alien knowing, butt kicking psychic.  It is so unusual!  I love that her attitude and actions stayed true to her the entire time.  Even though she was a static character, the story would not have been the same without her.

Here's where the story got a three.  While Stefani did a wonderful job with his characterization, I felt that there were times when his explanations got a little too complicated.  This was most noticeable when it came to his plot twist.  I honestly think that he could have done more with the story had he done less with the aliens, as weird as that may seem for a science fiction novel.

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