By Jen P
United, by Melissa Landers, is the final installment of the Alienated series. I reviewed the first two, Alienated and Invaded , with mixed feelings due to the strongly teased, but never delivered, sexual promise. United doesn’t leave the reader wanting in that department, but Landers may lose some fans by pulling a “Breaking Dawn”.
Finally, our heroes get some alone time on the human/alien island colony on planet L’eihr, but the honeymoon doesn’t last long. Soon, they’re joined by the other colonists, whom Cara is tasked with wrangling like HR at a failing company: none of the colonists like their assigned jobs, L’eihrs and humans simply aren’t getting along, and now a new alien race, the Aribol, threatens the tenuous human/L’eihr alliance Cara and Aelyx worked so hard for. The Aribol destroy a L’eihr passenger ship and give a month to separate the species and shut down their operations before they attack again. The whole venture seems doomed to fail—not to mention, Cara and Aelyx won’t be able to see each other ever again. Nooooo! (Seriously though, this shit is getting old). The lovebirds return to Earth in hopes of urging Earth leaders to remain united with L’eihr, despite the Aribol threats, and to buy themselves enough time to unveil the true motivations of the attackers and preserve the alliance indefinitely.
SPOILERS FROM HERE DOWN
Here’s what I liked:
- As I mentioned above, I had a problem with all the teasing in book two, but Landers finally delivers here. (It didn’t seem believable that these hormonal, angsty teens would repress themselves so completely, especially with doom and gloom on the horizon.) There’s nothing raunchy or vulgar about it, but the couple is finally “united” on their beautiful island colony. Days are spent skinny dipping and cuddling while they wait for the other colonists to arrive.
- Cara takes on a strong leadership role, which she fought for in previous books, and we finally get to see her in action.
- Book two villains Jaxen and Aisly return, and so do many of the protagonists as well—Cara’s and Aelyx’s siblings, her parents, and other old alliances.
- The new villains are mysterious and creepy, including Jaxen’s human love interest, Rune.
- What Landers bored me with in the sequel, she spared me in the conclusion. United is lighter on the politics than Invaded, the action keeps the pace flowing, and the romance kept me interested.
What I disliked:
- Unfortunately, Aelyx is utilized as little more than the muscle in this book, and I would have liked to see him taking on a more dominant leadership role alongside Cara.
- The couple’s arguments were tedious and unnecessary. I’m sorry, if my man sided with his best girl-friend over me, he wouldn’t be my man. I don’t care what kind of history they have, you don’t trust another chick over your lady. That’s just #ShipRules. I lost a lot of respect for Aelyx over this, but even Cara for going behind his back to uncover the secret his bestie was hiding. Their lack of communication and teamwork stopped me caring whether their ship would survive.
- I’ve read this story before: the couple that no one but the readers thought would make it somehow does, there’s a honeymoon sequence, some alliances are made, the bad guys are dealt with, then the good guys ride off into the sunset with smiles on their faces and love in their hearts. Yay, but clichéd.
- Just like Stephanie Meyer did in Breaking Dawn, Landers concludes her trilogy with an all-too-happy ending. Cara and Aelyx pay no price for their happily ever after: no friends die, no family members die, and even someone they lost in a previous book is brought back from the dead. But at least they didn’t stand around in a field and talk it out with the baddies. Some bad guys definitely died.
So, in conclusion:
I give it 3.5 shields.
United left me trapped somewhere between fulfillment and meh. The happy ending was sweet, but a little too sweet; and the plot arc strongly resembled the conclusion of Twilight. That being said, if you like YA sci-fi romance, you’ll probably enjoy this series; this book and the first one in particular. I would recommend this series to my friends, and I’d probably read it again if in the mood for some light romantic fare.
Have you read any of the Alienated books? Are you considering it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.