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Alive by Scott Sigler Review

Updated on March 30, 2016


A girl wakes to find herself locked in a casket. Upon breaking herself out, she finds several others just like her, all trapped in a room filled with coffins. Outside the room lies an even worse nightmare; hints of a long-ago war and a seemingly unending labyrinth. Soon, the girl--"Savage", as written on her coffin--becomes the leader of a scared group of teenagers, and is determined to lead them to safety--no matter the cost.

The Struggle

First, it was very hard to write this review without spoilers. I typically try to stay away from spoilers anyway, but as specific request from the author at the end of the book, I wanted to leave the surprises and twists of this book for the reader to discover.

Writing Style: A+

Sigler's writing style is phenomenal. There is never a pause or a lull in the action or description. The action scenes are intense and don't fall into the pitfalls of becoming "vague" like many recent young adult reads have become victim to. Instead, they are intriguing, intense, and gory in the best ways.

All of the description is intriguing and unveils twists and turns in the story.

What stands out most about this book is the perspective, and how well this perspective is written from.

Characters: A+

The protagonist, "Em" Savage, is one of the most interesting, well-developed characters I've read in quite a while.

The story, written in first person, follows Em's mental and emotional journey through a hellish landscape while she deals with creatures and humans attempting to kill her and those she's chosen to protect.

What is best about Em is that she is not perfect. She has her faults, and all of them are wonderfully fleshed out. The reader joins Em through the ups and downs of her journey, and sees her mental state develop and twist as more and more facts about where she is and how she came to be are discovered.

Em is also refreshing because she has a hunger for power. Not many protagonists, let alone female protagonists, actually wish to lead, or wish to be in the situation the author puts them in. While Em doesn't exactly want to be where she is, she honestly believes that she is the best choice to lead the others trapped with her to escape. This kind of personality is rare to see, and Sigler writes it beautifully.

Plot: B+

Without giving away spoilers it's obviously hard to discuss the pros and cons of the plot of this novel.

The best part of the plot is that it unveils itself carefully, through small details the characters happen upon on their search to escape.

The worst part is around the end, when all is unveiled. While the book has many intense twist and turns, not all of them are completely believable. Only the realism of the writing and the intense prose allow the reader the suspense of belief once all is revealed, and even that almost isn't quite enough.


Overall, this book is a fantastic read and one I would recommend to fans of the Gone series by Michael Grant. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Personality Quiz: Which ALIVE character are you?

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