The Quiet Invasion (Anglais) Poche – 1 mars 2001
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In Quiet Invasion, the Humans have colonized Venus and discover that someone else got there first. Factions on Earth want to interfere with the Venusian colonists and the politics behind the Earth's world government and those on Venus made this fascinating reading. Kettel also delves into the dying world of the aliens (called The People) and as different as they are, there are also some basic commonalities with our race.
After all this tremendous buildup, Kettel totally disappointed me by story's end. Several storylines are unresolved and while one alien makes the ultimate sacrifice to help the humans, you have to wonder why the villain gets away with murder.
Kettel is a promising writer with tons of potential, but she needs to learn how to deliver the goods. If being ultimately disappointed does not bother you, then by all means, you should read this book. Otherwise, don't waste your time.
The other big drawback of the book is that the writing is somehow immature. Some of the characters are older and quite experienced, but their characters do not reflect their age at all. All of the human characters as far as I read seem to share the same levels of energy and the same strengths of their convictions, and are affected similarly by failures and successes. In real life people are widely diverse in these things. The story was pretty interesting, but the sameness of the characters made them too unreal to draw me in. Some people won't care much about this, and if you are intrigued by the story line you may enjoy the book. But if you look for real people in your reading, you will be disappointed. I am sure the author will continue to develop, and future books may not suffer from these problems. And she deserves recognition now for creating a marvelously alien character and culture. But I think it takes more than this to make a great book. I will look forward to better from her in the future, but I do not highly recommend The Quiet Invasion.
I just couldn't get myself to like most of the main characters. Dr Helen Falia, Grace, Veronica Hatch, and the others were all very flawed. Everyone had hidden agendas and were very self-centered. I couldn't find myself pulling for any of them.
The parallel stories of political infighting within both cultures did not develop the sence of crisis that I expected. I kept hoping for more depth in the book and did not get it.
There were glimmers of brilliance in this book. Unfortunately, they were few in number and short in duration.
There are a few plot holes, and some loose ends that I would have liked to see tied up. But I enjoyed this book a lot. If you're a fan of hard SF, but not so hard that it clanks and whirrs, it's worth spending your money on "The Quiet Invasion." Sarah Zettle has definitely won a place on my coveted "Buy Everything This Author Writes" List.
On the writing front, the words have a very smooth flow. With some authors, clunky wording distracts from the plot. The characters are quite three-dimensional.
Despite the fine writing, I found the story dragging from time to time. I eventually realized that this was due to the many detailed character flashbacks, a technique that helped define a character while bringing the plot to a standstill. It happens over and over throughout the book draining a lot of momentum from the story.
The plot seemed rather forced at many points. I can't give many examples without giving away parts of the story, but often characters take actions that seem rather irrational. This includes the aliens.
One example that might not give away too much: The aliens have a system of "promises" -- debts incurred for favors. One alien offers another the indenture of any of his future children, even though he currently doesn't even have a wife and even though the promise may make it harder to obtain a wife and thus fulfill the promise. For this rather empty promise, he receives a "blank check" from the other alien, a deciding vote on a significant matter for which the second alien does not have all the facts (and knows it).
Another example is found at the very end of the story, where a supposedly highly perceptive character is revealed to have originated a very stupid plan.
I was also uncomfortable with a lot of the "science" in this book. The surface of Venus is 855° F (457° C) with a surface pressure of 90 atmospheres. The characters can not only travel on the surface, but can don Venus-suits which allow them to walk on the surface. The vehicles and suits seemed rather inadequate for the purpose and few details were given.
This environment is supposedly comfortable for the aliens. Again, few details were given to support a metabolism that could function well at this high temperature. In one scene, an alien comments on Earth, a world so cold that substances appear in liquid form, something apparently unusual to them. Yet at 855°, the aliens must have some liquids in their environment, even if they are only molten metal. This doesn't encourage confidence in the author's technical abilities.
The tedious character flashbacks, the forced plot devices and the scientific weakness of the story create constant irritations with the book. Yet the writing is so smooth and the characters so solid (even without the flashbacks), that one is left feeling that the author has a lot of potential. She may require a much more critical editor to achieve her best work.