Title: We Are Omega
Author: Justin Woolley
Published: December 2018
Publisher: Lonely Robot Books
Readership: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
RRP: $3.99 AUD
I received a copy of We Are Omega from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I AM. YOU ARE. WE ARE OMEGA.
Six years ago an alien spacecraft crashed into the remote Nevada desert, releasing a virus that killed one-fifth of the Earth’s population.
Molly McManus, who lost her parents to the plague, can’t forgive the aliens just because they give humanity a few new toys. For Wells Marsden, a computer hacker desperate to atone for his past, the aliens might just offer the fresh start he needs.
Both Molly and Wells find themselves, for very different reasons, at the Institute for the Betterment of Humanity – a prestigious facility for gifted youth to learn from the aliens. But when they discover Earth’s visitors aren’t as benevolent as they claim they must escape the Institute, join a mysterious resistance group known only as Omega, and save humanity from disaster – so long as humanity itself doesn’t get in their way.
WE ARE OMEGA is a science fiction adventure featuring hacking, telekinetic powers, giant alien crabs out to control the planet and two troubled teens who just might be the best hope we have. It’s a thundering read for fans of Illuminae, The 5th Wave, and I Am Number Four.
Last year I read finished reading Justin Woolley’s The Territory trilogy and absolutely adored it, so when he contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reading and reviewing his new young adult sci-fi book I was very keen. It combines two things I love: #loveozya and science fiction.
I purposely went into reading it knowing as little as possible, which is my preferred way to read most books, and I’m so glad I did.
We Are Omega is set in a remote Nevada town that was the crash-landing site of an alien ship, and a disaster that led to a fifth of the world’s population being killed from a virus released the aftermath. Six years later, and the world has recovered, and the aliens embraced as hope for humanity as they help cure previously incurable illnesses and share their technology from behind the walls of a compound designed to keep them safe in that same small town. They even offer training for teenagers who demonstrate the cognitive abilities of gifted students, and it’s seen as a privilege to gain admittance.
Our main characters, Molly and Wells, both find themselves in this school for different reasons. Molly hates the aliens, whose virus killed both her parents, and Wells has had a rocky youth, including time spent in a juvenile detention centre. Both quickly learn that not everything is as it seems and that the so-called benevolence of the aliens may not actually be the case.
I loved the pace of We Are Omega; it’s quick and easy to read. We have a dual perspective narrative, following both Molly and Wells, who have their own understanding and reactions to what is happening, and it never feels like you’re reading the same character. Molly is harsh and abrasive at times, still haunted by the deaths of her parents and her inability to forgive the aliens and move on like the rest of the world seems to have done. She questions everything and doesn’t just roll over and accept answers. Wells, by contrast, is a very nervous and anxious character, who appears to be a hypochondriac, and has a lot of guilt over a terrible accident that happened when he was younger. He’s also Australian, which was a nice touch, and a hacker, and is very uncomfortable with everything that he has to do in the book, which made him a great contrast to Molly.
Because of the length of the story and the quickness of pace, we don’t spend a lot of time delving deep into the backstory – as a learner you pick up a lot as the story moves on – but because of that pace, you don’t really need a lot of extra information. The world is our world, only one where aliens have landed and it’s caused a massive ripple effect that no-one’s really understood.
There was some information revealed towards the end of the story which I would have liked to have been fleshed out more, but I suspect there is potential here for sequels and a look more closely at the characters involved (and even if there are no sequels, it’s definitely food for thought, and now and then I like unanswered questions – it allows my mind to fill in the gaps).
Overall, this book hit all the right notes for me in young adult science-fiction: it was fast-paced, it had snappy dialogue, alien invasions and some very cool human enhancements.