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Review by KJ Van Houten

Review of Newborn

And now for something completely different! For some reason, the word ‘romp’ comes to mind after I read Newborn. The dictionary defines romp as “a spell of rough, energetic play” and yeah, that sort of fits! If you’ve read any of the other books in the Alien Contact for Idiots universe, you’ll know what I mean. And if you have not read at least the first book is that series, you will find some spoilers here.

When I first picked up Newborn, I didn’t realize it was part of the Alien Contact for Idiots series. As I was reading, I kept seeing names for people and places and thinking, why do these sound familiar when I know I haven’t read this book! It finally struck me, doh! While Newborn can be read standalone, there is definitely some background that will be better understood if you read at least the first Alien Contact for Idiots book. Which is also a refreshing romp, lol!

The story starts out with a first-person perspective where we don’t really know whose eyes and mind we are getting the story through. But that’s okay, because this person doesn’t know either! There’s a ‘newborn’ or ‘just woke up for the first time’ awareness of existence and of a purpose, but no who or why. Just know that ‘I’ am here, in a forest, and have a mission to assassinate a particular target. Fortunately, unlike a real newborn, ‘I’ am clothes, with a backpack, and weapons. Also an awareness of where my target is located, so off in that direction ‘I’ go to fulfill destiny.

Of course ‘I’ can’t go on a hike without being accompanied by my own thoughts. ‘I’ realize I know things that I don’t know how or why I know. And come to realize Destiny isn’t a straight path, and it’s ok to make some small detours. At some point, I also realize that ‘I’ am not of this Earth. But ‘I’ am human and of Earth. Oh yeah, alternate Earth brought into this version of Earth. So not alien, whew! But at the same time, a bit alien, as every tree, creek, etc., seems new to me. But then so does my own emotions and reactions. Oh cool, that’s a smile! ‘I’ see people and animals from a distance. I’m near my target. And after I kill her, I’ll kill myself.

‘I’ make a mistake. I fall down a rocky slope and then fall into unconsciousness. I awake later to find that people have taken me into the nearby lodge, which is also a place of recovery, but not quite a true hospital. My target is here – a woman, a soldier — but I’m too broken and bruised to complete my mission. And my weapons have been taken from me. But there is a man’s voice talking to a woman near me. His voice is deep and intriguing. Sexy? Yeah, that’s the word. Maybe a detour from destiny would be nice to explore while I’m healing. Especially with this man nearby.

‘I’ am healing too fast. Am I not human after all? The woman here is a bit suspicious. ‘I’ am female, and the name ‘Josette’ seems familiar, so I say that is my name. The man guards me, but he also guards my target. He will not let me see her although I learn she is also a ‘guest’ in this lodge. I want to make him happy, and get to know him much, much better – preferably without bandages or even clothes in the way — but he stands between me and my destiny. How long can I delay?

Ok, back to being KJ here! I don’t want to give away more of this story. It’s got some definitely interesting twists! As you can probably guess, the main character, Josette, is a walking contradiction of innocence and experience, a mix of naiveté and knowing far too much of how to deal death. Her identity is gradually revealed. The man with the sexy voice is even sexier and more fascinating as time goes on. The roles of other people in the lodge become clear. The path to fulfill destiny becomes murky. Why is Josette supposed to kill her target? Who gave her this mission? Can she complete the assassination mission without the added directive to kill herself? Why does she have to kill herself anyway? Why can’t she remember anything before waking up in the forest?

Yes, it all makes for a hard-to-put-down read. The pacing is quicker than it seems from what I’ve written here. There is some good tongue-in-cheek humour, although I didn’t think it was quite as humourous as the original Alien Contacts for Idiots story. Experiencing the story though Josette’s eyes is fascinating, although you remain torn between her compulsion to fulfill her assassination-suicide mission and hoping Mr. Sexy Voice will stop her. No, you really want him to find a very interesting and potentially mind-blowing way to stop her! So read this book and find out!

Disclaimer: An ebook of Newborn was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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