The Alien Diaries is a mix of historical and science fiction. Set mainly in Virginia, the story uses a dual timeline. It opens with an extract from the diary of fourteen-year-old Kate. The year is 1778; Kate and her brothers are rescued from a life of servitude by a couple who surround themselves with objects and ideas from a futuristic era.
In modern times bookstore owner, Colin, is gifted rare books from a patron who wants him to appraise books at a house he owns in Virginia. Investor Asher Bradford also requests the presence of Maddy Prentice as caretaker, while Colin works in the library. Colin and Maddy are required to embrace the house and its contents, living day-to-day as if the time was the late 1700s. But strange noises and sightings of frightening beings have the couple desperate to leave. Unfortunately for them, an invisible barrier prevents them from exiting the grounds. During their stay, they’ve been reading Kate’s diary; it’s possible that it holds the answers to save them from the mysterious terror.
The opening chapters of this book were very intriguing, with the mix of old and new setting a good ground for a story. I liked the mystery and the historical elements. However as the book progressed, there were points which let it down. There were a lot of story threads and I wasn’t convinced that they all added enough to the story to warrant their inclusion. The latter portion of the book also needed another edit and a final proofread. It felt really rushed and there were tense issues, head-hopping and proofreading errors. As to the story, the use of diary entries made ‘telling’ the story the dominant writing style. This continued throughout the book, missing opportunities to ‘show’ the reader the story. There was also room to add depth to the main characters to give them individual nuances and unique dialogue with a good variety of emotions. Currently too much dialogue was spoken in anger, which when over-used became unrealistic.
In summary, the book has a lot going for it, but it needs a tidy up and re-working of some of the weaker areas that let it down.
View all my reviews on Goodreads
While appraising old and rare books at a restored colonial plantation, a book collector stumbles across a series of diaries that chronicle an alien visitation in 1781.
A mysterious elderly stranger offers Colin Brayton, a bookstore owner, the job of appraising old books at a desolate colonial plantation. While working on the books, Colin stumbles across a series of diaries written in the late 1770s by fourteen-year-old Kate Dibble that chronicle an alien visitation.
Colin attempts to navigate a delicate balance between solving the mystery of the diary and simmering tensions with the beautiful, but aloof caretaker, Madeline Prentice. The strained relationship reaches a boiling point as a thunderstorm descends over the desolate property and prevents them from leaving. A malicious winged being emerges from the storm and demands the presence of The Ancient One in three days. When the diary hints of a buried spaceship, Colin and Maddy must put aside their differences to find the ship for their safety, and solve the mystery of the diary that hints at who The Ancient One is before the being seals their fate.