The Brothers Wynn are screenwriters, which became more and more apparent as I read along. They've got a good cast of characters, and a strong plot, that in my opinion, with some refining/editing/smoothing of pace (i.e. less screen direction/explanation, "more show; less tell" is the phrase I've heard editor types use when I've heard talks at various venues) could really improve. Or, going another direction, I could see this spinning out to a film or television series, sort of "Men in Black" but more on a regular day-to-day rather than "save the world from imminent destruction" basis. (Side note: That's what I like about a series like Daredevil vs Avengers. It gets tiresome if the world's always about to end. Keep one patch of earth safe, with good human/alien relationships.I'm happy with that.)
I liked the emphasis that the aliens in this particular case were humans, just not from Earth. I also liked that all but one of the characters (and that one was Jin, one of my favorites in the book) could blend in without disguises with the locals. I really liked the name of the agency Faulkner worked for, as well as some of the personal thoughts several/experiences several of the characters had about life and love. Some of those felt as if they might have come from life experience, and had an authentic ring to them. Though I'd pretty much anticipated a large plot reveal, there was one I expected to happen that didn't, which was good, because when a plot twist was unveiled near the end of the book, it took me unaware. It also resolved some ambiguity I'd been feeling about a particular character and his actual purpose in the whole book. There were a number of times in the book that things seemed more like stage direction, which would be great if this was a script, but inhibited the flow of the story for me. I imagine that if the Brothers Wynn were telling this story or reading it out loud, it might not have been as obtrusive for me. (But then again, I'm the kind of reader who gets annoyed by out of time-period vocabulary and punctuation used in novels. It's a quirk and a burden.)
All in all, I kept reading and am glad I did. There are elements of the story that keep coming back to mind--a good sign. I am refraining from giving a star rating, because I sincerely hope that this version will be revised and come back even stronger and cleaner, which I can rate higher. This book is an B.R.A.G medal honoree.
To the authors: Thank you very much for sharing the book with me. I want to add that I really loved the short stories on your website.
Tags: awardwinner, corresponded-with-author, first-novel-or-book, read, read-for-review, read-in-2015, science-fiction