Alight is one of the few novels that I felt improved from the first book – creating a richer story and developing the characters in a way that doesn’t feel like a bridge to the third book. Indeed, Alight is very different from the first book but builds upon the mysteries revealed in Alive. I still haven’t figured out why we’re dealing with Aztec mythology, kids in catholic school uniforms, and characters with names from all across the world. But there was enough action and character development in Alight to keep me interested to the last page.
Story: Em and her group have escaped the grownups and landed on the new planet. Their priority is to find food and water, shelter and safety. Em is haunted by the decisions she made since being awakened, especially the deaths on her conscience. Her fear – she is becoming Matilda. As they begin to explore the planet, it soon becomes very evident that they have become embroiled in a whole new set of dangers. And that the grown ups back on the Xolotl haven’t given up on their youthful body replacements.
Quite a bit happens in Alight – and as with the first book, Sigler enjoys throwing in some major plot twists. The action builds slowly but by the end, it’s non-stop action, betrayal, and surprises. Things are never as they seem and it’s enjoyable watching Em dealing with the constantly shifting situation.
Perhaps the only nitpick is that I did get tired of the agenda – a nonstop barrage of religion bashing. As much as I don’t want to read a book with a pro-religious undertone (Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or otherwise), I also don’t want to read such a rabid anti-religion toned novel either. It’s two sides of the same coin and as with anything in faith or politics, it strikes a false note. Villains are too evil or heroes too good, each being written so idealistically as to make the points ring true. In the case of Alight, I found Aromovsky to be cartoonish and an off-note in an otherwise enjoyable read.
In all, I look forward to more answers and the reveal from one heck of a great plot twist at the end of Alight. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.