Invaded: review

March 4, 2015 2 star books, 2015, Layla, sci fi or futuristic 33 ★★

Invaded: reviewInvaded by Melissa Landers
Series: Alienated #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on February 3, 2015
Genres: science fiction
Pages: 356 pages
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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two-stars
Cara always knew life on planet L'eihr would be an adjustment. With Aelyx, her L'eihr boyfriend, back on Earth, working to mend the broken alliance between their two planets, Cara is left to fend for herself at a new school, surrounded by hostile alien clones. Even the weird dorm pet hates her.

Things look up when Cara is appointed as human representative to a panel preparing for a human colony on L'eihr. A society melding their two cultures is a place where Cara and Aelyx could one day make a life together. But with L'eihr leaders balking at granting even the most basic freedoms, Cara begins to wonder if she could ever be happy on this planet, even with Aelyx by her side.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Aelyx, finds himself thrown into a full-scale PR campaign to improve human-L'eihr relations. Humans don't know that their very survival depends on this alliance: only Aelyx's people have the technology to fix the deadly contamination in the global water supply that human governments are hiding. Yet despite their upper hand, the leaders of his world suddenly seem desperate to get humans on their side, and hardly bat an eye at extremists' multiple attempts on Aelyx's life. The Way clearly needs humans' help but with what? And what will they ask for in return?

Welcome, fellow l’annabes. My name is Layla, and I will be your guide to the planet L’eihr (and the innermost workings of Cara Sweeney’s mind). To prepare for this journey, I want you to remember the following:

  • Cara, our heroine, is fiery and passionate. You know this because she has red hair. Also, she is a woman.
  • Aelyx, our hero, is logical and doesn’t totally get human emotions 100%. You know this because he is a man. (And an alien from a planet where they like … bred out human emotion because it is a weakness, do you hear me? A weakness! Don’t worry, they’re trying to fix it.)
  • The L’eihr don’t believe in: feelings, compassion, humans not sucking.
  • In this universe, it is totally realistic for one teenager to give up her life on Earth and decide to “build a life together” with her alien boyfriend on his alien planet. Don’t worry, the colonies will be lots of fun, Cara! They’ll definitely give you a way to get off the island, and yes, it’s an actual island. (Cara seems weirdly more concerned about whether or not she’ll be able to choose her own job, but guess what, it will not matter what job you have when shit goes down and you can’t get out of there! This is the thing you need to fight harder for!)
  • If you’re receiving death threats and people are trying to kill you at every turn, just do what you do, man. Absolutely follow people into shady looking, isolated buildings. Oh, and: View Spoiler »
  • In space, no one can hear you scream at your copy of Invaded.

I was really excited to pick up a copy of Melissa Landers’s sequel to Alienated, Invaded, at NCTE this year. I have a kind of love-hate relationship with Alienated (reviewed here last year at The Midnight Garden, and here by me on GoodReads). I had quite a few issues with it – among them, sexism, world-building that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, and the name “Cahhhh-raaaa.” (For some reason, Cara’s name is the only English word Aelyx’s alien mouth can’t quiiiiiite make sense of.)

But I wanted to read Invaded anyway – I was genuinely curious about what L’eihr would be like.

Turns out it is a lot like a snobby boarding school where some of your classmates maybe try to control you with their minds. And are constantly trying to sabotage you. And where you will also declare your allegiance to your new home, L’eihr, by getting naked and having your classmates drip mud on you. Don’t feel scandalized, or anything – they don’t. (Because they don’t have feelings). Also, you have to work out all the time, but this is a good thing because when you get back to Earth, all of your friends will be so super jealous. (That … actually happens, and made me want to punch things.)

So. Good things about this book: it’s really funny in places (say what you will about me as a reader, but any charming anecdotes about pets in books will make me forget what I’m reading and go “d’awww” for a brief fragile moment); I liked Cara more in this book than in the last and liked getting a clearer picture of her relationship with her brother, who is much more present in this book (that was very sweet); I laughed at Cara’s blogs! And also the scene where she tells L’eihr children the story of Hansel and Gretel. Last, but not least, I am pretty curious about where the next book will go. Not necessarily with regards to Cara and Aelyx’s relationship, which still feels lukewarm to me, but with regards to the L’eihr / Earth backstory. View Spoiler »

Things I did not like about this book: I mean, parts of the world-building still make me feel like I have to seriously suspend my disbelief in places. I still don’t really buy the “L’eihr! Totally passionless!” thing, because obviously both the Elders and the newer clones do feel strong emotions. The logic = L’eihr / emotions = Earth thing feels like a false dichotomy to me. We see both sides being swayed by both logic and passion! Bah.

Additionally, Cara’s emotional development didn’t always make sense to me. She seems pretty unhappy on L’eihr and becomes, over the novel, fairly committed to a particular course of action. (One that makes a lot of sense. View Spoiler ») But … she changes her mind pretty much within 24 hours of returning to Earth, and for reasons that are not all that compelling. This seems like an unlikely thing for Cara to decide to do after she has been thinking one thing FOR MONTHS, and, I don’t know, it gets resolved way too smoothly to me. It made the initial conflict feel false – like it’d been set up just because the novel needed a source of conflict (i.e., a reason for Cara and Aelyx to not immediately jump into bed together upon reuniting).

To be honest, I felt like this was the case with much of the conflict in the novel (i.e., that it was conflict for conflict’s sake rather than … anything that actually made sense). The multiple death threats that Aelyx encounters made me absolutely batty. Like, it is possible that Aelyx has not seen enough suspense movies (and that’s okay, he’s from L’eihr). But don’t go randomly investigate things! Don’t trust people who are obviously already compromised! Don’t go into dark, spooky buildings. Maybe never open your mail unless you are sure bomb-sniffing dogs have sniffed it first. (And like, this may just be me, it’s totally cool if you were down with all of the action and drama – for me, it wasn’t really emotionally compelling and I found myself getting hugely frustrated as a result.)

And last, but not least, I found the novel’s tone to be inappropriate in places. It’s light and humorous most of the time, but sometimes that just didn’t work for me. When Cara’s worried that she’s just been View Spoiler »

In closing, I will say that I liked Invaded way more than I liked Alienated. It’s a bit like a parody of itself – goofy adventures in space! Which I can be on board with. But mostly, for me, this is because Aelyx and Cara are (mostly) blissfully separated from each other, and – given that they are teenagers who have decided to move to Aelyx’s home planet to start a life together – I think space is a good thing for them. Lots of space. Outer space, even.

In short: I’m still oddly fascinated with this series (and like Cara, have so many fiery passionate human feelings about it!), even though it frustrates the heck out of me. And, last but not least, the cover’s still white-washed. Get on that, Disney Hyperion folks. Let’s make it happen for Book #3.

Did you read Invaded? Did you like it?

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An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review.

33 Responses to “Invaded: review”

  1. Juwairiya

    I haven’t read this series but why do people say the covers are white-washed? Are the aliens POC? That would be really interesting.

  2. Jacqueline Engelhardt

    I totally agree with you! I kinda liked it despite there being a lot of things that simply annoyed me. But’ll read the third book anyway. But I absolutely love the covers of these books!

    • Layla

      The covers are really, really beautiful, though I wish they weren’t white-washed. But that was the reason I picked Alienated up in the first place – I thought the cover was so pretty!

      Yep, right there with you. Will also read the third book! What is this strange witchcraft, Alienated series? I’m not invested in the characters at all AND YET, I do want to know where she’s going to take this.
      Layla recently posted…A Darker Shade of Magic: Tour Stop + Giveaway (international)

    • Layla

      Haha, thanks. I hope you like it if / when you get to read it! It wasn’t for me (though I’ll still read the third book because I’m hella curious) but if you liked Alienated, I suspect you’ll like Invaded as well. I actually liked it a bit more than the first book, because Aelyx and Cara weren’t together as much. ;) (Blasphemy!)
      Layla recently posted…A Darker Shade of Magic: Tour Stop + Giveaway (international)

  3. Nazlı D

    I just finished reading Alienated and liked it a lot. I can not wait to read this book!

    • Layla

      Thanks, Jeann. So, I mean, it’s about an alien race who are closely related to humans but have unfortunately had all of the emotions bred out of them (they realized it was a mistake, and are trying to fix it – good call you guys!). What bothered me is that the way the relationship plays out is that our female lead is super passionate and emotional (you know how ladies do) and our male love interest is rational, hyper-intelligent, and analytical – so it ends up being super stereotypical even if it does’t intend to be. Kind of like a literalization of the “men are from mars / women are from venus” thing, which annoyed the heck out of me.

      (I would feel comfortable recommending that someone skip this series, but on the other hand, I know lots of folks looooove it.)
      Layla recently posted…A Darker Shade of Magic: Tour Stop + Giveaway (international)

  4. Amanda K.

    I read Alienated and want to read Invaded! (Too scared to read the review because I don’t want to subject myself to spoilers if there are any) :)

  5. Kim

    Wow! I loved this one so much. There’s decent romance and banter and such.

    lols jk (i cant even fake it)

    You know I hated this. I loved wondering why Aelyx’s security guard was SO BAD the entire time. Like, wait, after the first *nearly deadly* security breach why wasn’t the security plan completely overhauled?

    “Shhhh, Kim. Shhh.” Plans that make sense don’t belong in the ALIENATED sphere. Yes, I see..

    “’After all the years she’d waited for the right time to play her v-card, she was going to lose it to a creeper like Jaxen?”’ And, ahhhh, that just felt weirdly flippant to me?

    Yes, correct. Ban this book. Ban it out of the stratosphere.
    Kim recently posted…A Darker Shade of Magic: Tour Stop + Giveaway (international)

    • Layla

      You tried really hard though! I almost bought it. Almost. For me, I especially love the sizzling chemistry between them, as well as how excellently they communicate. Truly. The best.

      YES THE SECURITY GUARD IS AWFUL AND NO ONE SEEMS TO THINK THAT IS WEIRD

      My favorite part about that entire thing is that he kept on being like: “wait! I forgot to let the bomb-sniffing dogs check that package!” and “wait! maybe *I* should go out and get the pizza, all the security guards are mysteriously missing!” and “wait! POISON FOOD!” Like he’s not a bumbling idiot, you guys, and like L’heir threatened to withdraw support if more attempts on Aelyx’s life were made but NOOOOO can’t be bothered. And then Aelyx follows him even when he’s acting super shifty and like basically crying as he leads Aelyx to his doom. Seriously, what a dummy.

      My new name for this series: “Fail-ienated.” FAIL. YOU ALL FAIL.
      Layla recently posted…A Darker Shade of Magic: Tour Stop + Giveaway (international)

  6. Emily

    I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Based off of your review, however, I feel that it will probably end up being a waste of time. Is this just the same as the other formulaic dystopian novels that just make you want to scream at the main character for being so predictable?

    • Layla

      I actually think the novel is different from other science fiction novels – and it maybe isn’t properly a dystopia. It’s definitely more along the lines of, like, pulp sci fi? (It’s about an alien invasion, and though the earth is in trouble, the aliens – at least at this point – provide a solution rather than anything else.) So it’s not a formulaic dystopia, but it is formulaic for YA romance more generally (the sci-fi is provides more trappings than anything else, so do with that as you will.)
      Layla recently posted…A Darker Shade of Magic: Tour Stop + Giveaway (international)

  7. Lia

    This one didn’t astound me either. I don’t buy Aelyx and Cara’s relationship at all. It didn’t help matters that Spoiler, much expectedly, Spoiled. Something’s still going to make me read the next one. Great Review.

    • Layla

      Well, I especially didn’t buy it in the last book – I never really figured out what drew them to each other or made their relationship seem workable. It’s also terrible to me that the relationship isolates her so much from her family, friends, and schoolmates. (It’s not Aelyx’s fault, but that combined with his smug superiority made me really antsy.) And in this book … I mean, she likes the way he smells, she misses him, but they both still haven’t learned how to communicate with each other and really stupidly keep information from each other. And this does not make me super confident in their ability to build a happy life together on the colonies, is all I’m saying.

      Me too. I will also read the next one. So, I hear you.
      Layla recently posted…A Darker Shade of Magic: Tour Stop + Giveaway (international)

  8. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction

    I had a love/hate with Alienated too. There were aspects I really didn’t like but overall it was addicting. I requested Invaded and looked forward to reading it but sadly, I ended up DNFing. I got half-way and was so bored. It really made me sad. Seeing your rating…maybe I’m glad I called it quits. :-(
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…Review of Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

    • Layla

      Yeah, I mean, I enjoyed Alienated but was also just so frustrated with it much of the time. (I had admittedly really high expectations for it, too.) Why’d you end up DNFing Invaded? It does get off to a pretty slow start (despite the multiple attempts on Aelyx’s life, which … to me did not constitute interesting plot development), though the action picks up later.

      You escaped. Celebrate your freedom!
      Layla recently posted…A Darker Shade of Magic: Tour Stop + Giveaway (international)

  9. Wendy Darling

    I loooooove this review, Tour Guide Layla. It’s funny and informative, and it also confirms for me that I was probably right to let go of this series after the first one. It’s disappointing to hear that so many of the things that bothered me about the first book are still present in the second–but at least Cara is more likeable? I look forward to your review of book three when the time comes. :D

    • Layla

      I think you made the right decision to resist all of my half-hearted attempts at making you pick this one up. For better or for worse, it’s a lot like the first book (though there were elements that made it slightly more enjoyable for me), and since you didn’t like that, I don’t think you’re missing out on anything.

      Cara is more likeable! Away from Aelyx and the constant reminder that she is the bestest at everything, I was less troubled by the stupidity of her decisions. (Although there is this totally maddening scene at the end where she’s like, “Augh! I’m back on Earth and SO BORED! I already learned everything in my AP Physics textbook on L’eihr, and more.” So she becomes even more special as the result of her time there, auuugh. And also more skinny. All the girls are So. Jealous. ::rages::)

      We’ll see where I am next year, if/when Book #3 happens!
      Layla recently posted…Review: Invaded

  10. J. Oh

    I enjoyed the first book, though it was certainly imperfect. I’m curious how this one will turn out… And slightly apprehensive.

    • Layla

      I’ll be really curious to hear what you think about it! What’d you like about the first book? I can tell you whether those things are present, or present-ish, or totally absent in the second? I suspect that you’ll like it though – it’s very much still in the vein of the first book (and I thought it was better, but that may just be me and my delight at the fact that Cara and Aelyx were not together).
      Layla recently posted…Review: Invaded

  11. Ellie Robinson

    I’ve been debating whether to pick this up as at the end of alienated i was a little annoyed at how quickly cara had gotten attached to Aelyx and wanted to go with him.
    So I probably won’t pick up the sequel.
    Thanks for the review :)

    • Layla

      Yeah, that really got me too. I was like … BUT YOU’RE WHAT, 17? And he has basically been lying to you for the entire book! And you know he’s been lying! And you decide that it’s worth leaving your family and friends and everything you’ve ever known behind to … be with a dude who lies to you. Their relationship just didn’t seem all that *good* or positive to me, to be honest.

      In this book they’re separated though! Which is really for the best. But the whole “they are meant to be” thing is pretty much never complicated. They have found true love. Accept it, reading audience. (I can’t! I don’t!)
      Layla recently posted…Review: Invaded

  12. Carina Olsen

    Aw. Great review Layla :) Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about this book. <3 But sad face. I'm so sorry you didn't really like Invaded :( I loved it. But, heh, reading your review I'm starting to see some issues too o.O But I shall overlook it, lol, as I did really love this book. And I'm really hoping there will be a third book :D Glad you want that too. <3 Anyway. I'm so sorry you had issues with this book :( but I'm glad you didn't hate it :)
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday #177

    • Layla

      Do you know what you liked best about it? I did think having Cara and Aelyx be apart in this book was a much more interesting move for their relationship (and one that could have been particularly productive for Cara? I almost wish that the book had ended with her decision to not return to L’eihr. It’d be fine for her to change her mind, but I would have liked to have seen that developed more, and think it would have been an interesting thing to carry into Book #3 if that happens.) I know Landers has said that she thinks the series has closure at this point, but I don’t see that at all! (Earth is maybe still doomed! There are still aliens out there who are maybe menacing! Jaxen is still on the loose! WHAT WILL HAPPEN! Cara and Aelyx are together but there are bigger problems!)
      Layla recently posted…Review: Invaded

      • Carina Olsen

        Well.. I’m not sure I can remember much about it, lol, as I read it in April last year (A) won an early signed ARC. <3 But I just.. I love both characters so much and I though the plot was exciting :) I loved the ending, though, hah. <3 but really want a third book :) And aw. I don't agree with you about it being good for them to be a part, lol, as I HATE HATE HATE when authors keep my couple away from each other. HMPH. I don't like that, hih :) But I didn't fully mind in this book. And yess. To me, Melissa said that she really wants to be able to write a third book. But they have to buy it first :\ Fingers crossed. <3
        Carina Olsen recently posted…In My Mailbox #175

    • Layla

      I actually quite liked that they were apart so much, but admittedly, I was not super onboard with their relationship in Alienated, so your mileage may vary, especially if you did ship them. I do think that it’s kind of interesting that she separated them for this book? (It does create some conflict, as you can imagine, and in some ways, that seems necessary, as the last book closed with them being ready to move to space together.)
      Layla recently posted…Review: Invaded