Review: The Retreat (After Trilogy #1) by Kelly St. Clare

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Earth is ruined. Humankind destroyed. And it’s old news.

 

Romy’s life is simple—for a genetically enhanced space soldier; pick up space junk with her four friends, and stave off the invaders fixated on stealing Planet Earth.

 

It isn’t much. But it’s temporary—only another 850 years to go, give or take.

 

When her crew tangles with a gulp-worthy alien mothership, Romy’s return to Earth is brought forwards at hurtling pace.

 

Strength comes from the unlikeliest of quarters.

 

As does leadership.

 

…As does betrayal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

***Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for a review.***

 

What’s Good: a well-paced read that can keep you turning the pages.  The premise is intriguing, even knowing the hammer’s gonna fall.  Once stranded upon Earth, things change in more ways than Romy and her friends could’ve imagined.  Despite all the teen drama & angst that dominates the book it never gets too bogged down by it.

 

Dialogue, while usually stilted, is often funny.  Houston, a medical doctor, is a walking rifftrack- always with a quip or one-liner, even at the wrong moment.  He needs more page time.

 

The plot, while nothing new, has a few wrinkles to it that’ll hold your interest.  Threads are woven together pretty nicely and there’s not a lot of wasted pages.

 

What’s Bad: the usual.  Main character Rosemary, aka Romy, is pretty much the Chosen One, evidenced by her nickname (instead of Rose or Rosie).  Except for one or two exceptions nearly every character is straight from Central Casting including Atlas- the mysterious, enigmatic leading man who leads the encampment and, of course, falls completely in love with Romy after about two weeks.

 

Despite the new wrinkles it’s still a YA novel and quickly falls back into the same old same old, so what felt kinda fresh becomes stale.

 

There’s also not enough about the Critamal- the aliens that humanity is fighting.  Once the crew is stranded on Earth the focus naturally shifts, but the alien invaders are all but forgotten, and not a whole lot was supplied about them to begin with.

 

Being a YA novel, there has to be artifical drama that makes no sense.  Romy & her crew are super-soldiers: enhanced reflexes & strength, nanobots in their bloodstream, etc.  Yet when faced with the threat of sexual assault suddenly Romy has no skills whatsoever, let alone presence of mind to simply punch him in the jaw and let someone know what’s happened.  Or at least level a few threats of her own.  Granted, this scene was groundwork for later developments, but it still didn’t make any sense.

 

What’s Left: an interesting arc that needs to get out of its own way.  Less reliance on the YA cliches and tropes and tell the story.

 

3/5 stars.