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by Robert McCammon
McCammon is very thorough with description, yet at least in the first part of the book he seems to start every sentence with an overly long sentence that any English teacher would demand splitting into smaller bites. The picture he paints in this story is a bleak landscape of a dying town and the sort of effects it has on the people struggling to survive as jobs disappear and the local mine runs dry.
Against the backdrop of desperation and despair, an alien drops into the lives of the townspeople, followed by a second alien of a different nature and people start to get hurt. The reason for this happening is revealed slowly, drawing the reader into the conflict that underlies the presence of the aliens.
There were a lot of characters to develop in this story and I sometimes wished the narrative would go back to one group or another to keep better continuity, but it all sort of comes together in the last quarter of the book when the remaining townspeople are faced with an impossible choice of how to deal with the respective aliens.
One thing I will say in the book's favour is that several Mexican characters were developed well and played important roles. Yay for diversity!
I felt that Stinger was a little too formidable and I would like to have seen him have more vulnerabilities. As it was, the story seemed imbalanced and the actions in the last chapters less believable. After all, he was in an unfamiliar atmosphere with different gravity with flora and fauna he had never encountered. A lot could have been done with a dog allergy or a bad reaction to minerals in the earth, like sulphur.
Much could have been done with what he eats and possibly running out of time before the nutrients, air pressure or other factors become a problem.
Overall it was a fairly good read and there were some very original ideas, but not one for my personal favourites.