Title: When They Came
Series: A When They Came Novel, Book 1
Author: Kody Boye
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult
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When They Came
A When They Came Novel, Book 1
CreateSpace, June 2017
From the author—
I was never afraid of monsters—at least, not until They came: the visitors from outer space.
Now They’re in our skies, on our streets, always watching, forever waiting.
At seventeen, I’m just about to graduate from the Juvenile Education System and declare my career of choice. The Midnight Guard—who protect our community from the vicious things that lie outside our walls—calls to me.
It’s hard, dangerous work, with grueling hours that offer little sleep, but it’s the one thing I know will help make a difference in our ever-changing world.
I’m a pushover for science fiction of the alien invasion variety and I have equal fondness for the truly serious kind and high camp. When They Came falls somewhere in the middle and has both attractive elements as well as some that made me lift an eyebrow.
Ana Mia appealed to me quite a lot, as did her sister and mother, and I empathized with Ana’s desire to do something honorable with her life while being pretty unsure of herself. That lack of confidence rang true for a teenager but especially for one whose mere existence is a daily test. Jason and Asha also were believable characters and a real positive of the story was how much diversity there is.
There were several things that didn’t quite mesh for me. For one thing, I can’t imagine a military leader taking raw recruits—and I do mean raw—out on a mission that’s extremely dangerous and, in fact, ends badly. Also, that particular event occurred much too soon, before I had a chance to really get to know either the characters or the dire circumstances of their lives and, as a result, I was sympathetic towards Ana but didn’t care as much as I could have. Dialogue also left me underwhelmed at times.
On the whole, though, this story of humans versus aliens is based on an interesting concept and the author creates believable tension throughout with plenty of action and fear-inducing atmosphere. While I’m not entirely satisfied with this first book in the trilogy, that doesn’t prevent me from wanting to go on to the next book.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2018.
An Excerpt from When They Came
We didn’t find a house by the time the sun set. With no other way to seek shelter, we angled ourselves beneath the trunk of a massive pine and covered up with a pair of blankets as we watched the sun fall.
“You okay?” Asha asked.
“Yeah,” I replied, scooting closer to her. “Are you?”
“I’m scared out of my mind, but yeah—I think I’ll be okay.”
“We could always keep walking, you know? See if we find anything else?”
“I’m too tired to walk anymore.”
I couldn’t blame her. Though I couldn’t tell time by the way the sun fell, I knew, based solely on the fact that we’d risen at dawn, we’d been walking for ten, if not eleven hours. My body ached, my feet throbbed, my bones screamed bloody murder. It felt like someone had tried to drive a nail into the base of my heel, such was the pain I endured.
Rather than think on it, I opened the pack at my feet and pulled out a pair of bottled waters.
“Thanks,” Asha said as I passed hers over.
“No problem,” I said, taking a sip of my water as she popped the cap on her own. “So… how are we going to do this?”
“You mean the watch?” Asha asked. She capped her water, settling it between her knees and taking hold of the gun across her lap. “I’ll go first, then you can go until you start feeling tired. We’ll keep alternating until the sun comes up.”
“You really think that’ll work?” I asked. She nodded. “But what if we both fall asleep?”
“Then just go as long as you can,” Asha offered. “All I know is that I’m ready to pass out, but I’ll force myself to stay awake if I have to.”
Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad for the two of us to fall asleep at the same time. I mean, we were hours away from civilization. Surely the Harvesters had no reason to land out in the middle of nowhere, much less a copse of trees. Regardless, I knew I couldn’t argue with Asha. As I settled back against the tree and closed my eyes, she sighed and adjusted her position against the trunk.
“This isn’t going to be an easy night,” she said.
No. It wasn’t.
About the Author
Born and raised in Southeastern Idaho, Kody Boye began his writing career with the publication of his story “A Prom Queen’s Revenge” at the age of fourteen. Published nearly three-dozen times before going independent at eighteen, Boye has authored numerous works—including the short story collection Amorous Things, the novella The Diary of Dakota Hammell, the zombie novel Sunrise and the epic fantasy series The Brotherhood Saga.
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