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As a deputy commissioner for the ICC, Alan Decker’s job is to make sure the settlements on LV178 follow all the rules, keeping the colonists safe. But the planet known as New Galveston holds secrets, lurking deep beneath the toxic sands dubbed the Sea of Sorrows.
The Weyland-Yutani Corporation has secrets of its own, as Decker discovers when he is forced to join a team of mercenaries sent to investigate an ancient excavation. Somewhere in that long-forgotten dig lies the thing the company wants most in the universe—a living Xenomorph.
Decker doesn’t understand why they need him, until his own past comes back to haunt him. Centuries ago, his ancestor fought the Aliens, launching a bloody vendetta that was never satisfied. That was when the creatures swore revenge on the Destroyer…Ellen Ripley.
Alien TM & © 1979, 2013 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Alien Sea of Sorrows by James A. Moore
I love the Alien movie franchise, so take that into consideration as you read my very subjective review.
I enjoyed this book, though I did not love it. But, it’s important to mention I read the book, rather than listened to the Audible Studios production. From what I’ve heard, the Audible version contains a full cast with music and sound effects, thus making for a better experience with Alien Sea of Sorrows.
** Some spoilers below **
Sea of Sorrows is book 2 in an official trilogy of books set in the Alien universe. The first book is Alien: Out of the Shadows by Tim Lebbon. You can read my review of that book here. You can also pick up a copy on Amazon, here.
“We need to go back to the city ruins,” Silas said. “I think we have a bigger problem than we realize.”
“How do you mean?” Cho asked.
“I don’t think they’re dead,” Silas said. “Your men, and my associates. Not yet at least.”
-from Chapter 32 of Sea of Sorrows
The quote from chapter 32 reeks of the movie Aliens, when Ripley and the Colonial Marines discover the xenomorphs use alive humans as hosts to birth new aliens. Which leads me to my next point.
If you think Alien is a better movie than Aliens, then you’ll prefer Tim Lebbon’s book. However, if you think Aliens was the better film, then you’re more apt to enjoy Alien Sea of Sorrows.
Like James Cameron’s Aliens, this book is a fast-paced story that adds more backstory to the alien creature lore while keeping the protagonist directly inline with Ellen Ripley as a descendant. To me, that’s the best part. Then again, Moore added empath capabilities to Decker, which took Alien Sea of Sorrows in a weird, unnecessary direction.
Unfortunately, I ride the fence when deciding which Alien movie I like most. I feel the original three movies, Alien, Aliens, and Alien3 were all equally brilliant in their own way.
Perhaps that makes me more objective to review Sea of Sorrows than I initially thought.
So, did I enjoy the book? Meh.
It was simply ‘OK.’ Sometimes the story took quite predictable turns, which I consider lazy writing by the author. Other times, the pace of the story quickened too much and I found it difficult to track newly introduced characters.
Moore’s strength, at least in Sea of Sorrows, appears to be in the fast-paced action sequences when Decker (Ripley’s descendant) and a group of military and corporate lab folks descend underground to the alien lair.
During those tense scenes, which cover nearly all of the second half of the book, I couldn’t put the book down. A few scenes dragged on a little too long and I found myself skimming through to the end of the scene. Otherwise, they’re well-written and the story fits nicely inside the Alien franchise.
Is it Worth a Read?
Yes, 100%. BUT, only if you are a fan of the Alien movies. Otherwise, I suspect you’ll find Sea of Sorrows a little pedantic due to the minute details necessary to include in any Alien (or any licensed work) franchise title.