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Review: “Aliens Abroad” by Gini Koch: New Faces, New Places

One of the things Gini Koch says to her fans on a regular basis, is things have to happen. This is a book where those things happen. While that is neither good nor bad, it makes this book one of my new favorites in the series because big events happen in this story and it changes the direction of the series entirely.

In the previous books, we were dealing with various nefarious plots and overarching villains. I’m pretty sure that at least one of those masterminds is still plotting in the background somewhere. But this novel takes us on a different path, at least for a while. The first chapter begins with Kitty, the main character, having a dream in which she is communicating with someone via the dreamscape and whoever the person is, she is not from Earth. As Kitty would say, par for the course. So Kitty, Jeff, their children and friends gather to inaugurate the first spaceship and the crew that will take flight to outer space but as they do, more chaos ensues.

As we know, nothing ever goes as planned for Kitty and her friends and this outing is more of the same. Kitty, her family, dozens of civilians are rocketed to outer space as the ship’s AI takes over, with most of the command crew missing. The AI refuses to return to Earth and is bent on answering a call for help from a distant planet. It looks like things are going to go from bad to worse. The ship gets ripped from warp, though, and things officially go to ten on the disaster scale as deadly things begin to happen all over the galaxy with Kitty and her crew on a mission to fix all the bad. On this space trip to end all space trips, Kitty and her friends must save the day, not once but multiple times and if they don’t get it right, it could mean the end of the universe.

This novel is a game changer for the Alien Universe. There have been other books in the series that have done the same thing but I want to share why this one is one of my all time favorites. Because there are changes, both in Kitty’s crew and in the plot, it creates a story that, for one, is less predictable. There are villains to defeat but not the same kind and they must be defeated in more unusual ways. There are also characters that you think might be enemies that instead turn out to be friends. Not surprising for the characters that Gini Koch as created. Kitty likes to make friends and one of the elements I like about all the books is that the main character always sees the potential of others to be friends.

Another factor that I love is how quick the pacing is. All of the novels jump into action but I felt this one was even quicker. The pacing does ebb but in natural ways. There is always something going on, either a villain to defeat, someone to rescue or a mystery to solve. As the characters find out information, so does the reader which helps with the pacing. Plus, each chapter ends in a way that makes the reader want to gulp down more of the story. It is definitely hard to put down, even to sleep.

There is a cast of thousands. I joke, not really but what you will notice is there are a lot of characters. I tend to be able to track the characters. Personally, I think that’s because I’ve been introduced to them gradually over the last fifteen books. I do know, one of the tricks that the author uses is that not all the same characters are used in each book. In this one, since the group is catapulted into space, she’s cut the group to a smaller amount than she had in the previous book. I happen to think that is one of the reasons the pacing is actually better. As a reader, I’m not trying to track as many characters in this book and that helps me focus on the ones that count. I will caveat that with saying, I’ve noticed a deliberate choice in each book to focus on different characters each time around. This time, there are the main characters like Kitty, Chuck, Jeff, and Reader that are in every book with a change up on the secondary characters. With the other changes, this again was something that increased my enjoyment of Aliens Abroad.

Another element that keeps me reading is the action in the novels. This book is no exception. While there is a lot that happens that I don’t want to spoil, it is true that the main character and her friends have to use their wits and their bravery to fight those who would harm others. They end up rescuing more than themselves, adding more characters to love along the way but also advancing the story. The new characters help Kitty and crew with their problems. Among all the chaos, there is enough action to keep any reader of this series thrilled.

With tons of action, caring characters, new faces to love and wonderful pacing along with a thrilling story, I can’t think of any reason readers won’t love this novel. Each book I read of Gini Koch’s improves just a little bit more. Aliens Abroad is my new favorite and the best yet in the Alien series. But you know what, I bet I’ll think that of the next one too. You know why, because Gini Koch’s writing gets better and better with each new story. I can’t wait for the next book because this one, in particular, has left me wanting more!

Rating: 5 out of 5 Aliens

Print Length: 651 pages
ISBN: 0756412838
Publisher: DAW
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Language: English
Author: Gini Koch

You can find the book for purchase on Duncansbooksandmore

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