Rift Wars – The Entity Within by Nitin Suneja. Book review

Rift Wars – The Entity Within by Nitin Suneja, The Book Guild, PB, 347pp, £9.49

Reviewed By Steve Dean.

You can tie a fancy ribbon on it and call it whatever you like, but the fact remains this is a vanity published novel. Why people are still paying publishers to print their stuff I don’t know. You can go ebook, publish it yourself, and save your friends and relatives from shelling out almost a tenner as well as several trees.

Anyway, with that off my chest, let’s get down to the review. As it happens, fifteen-year-old Jon Farrell is visiting the catacombs in Rome with his parents when the Earth is attacked by aliens. (I hate it when that happens.) His parents are killed but Jon makes it out safely, to find the world is a pile of smoking ruins. Shrugging off the deaths of both his parents, the teenager starts walking to see if he can find out what happened. Jon soon meets up with an older woman, who speaks English of course, and they find an intact house to shelter in.

Now, a long time ago I admit, I was a teenager, and my first concern on entering the only surviving house for miles around wouldn’t be to check if someone’s changed the bed linen. Later, we have the egg incident, where the hero seems to think they go bad as soon as the power goes off. That could be characterization of course, but it’s more likely poor research. I’ve said this before, there’s a great tool for researching such things, it’s called the internet, you might have heard about it.

As the book progresses, it becomes more obvious the teenage hero is based on someone older and wiser, possibly the author himself. This makes the hero’s actions much harder to believe. Why not just have an older main character?

As well as an unconvincing hero, there are several logical errors that jar you out of the story. For instance, the humans have captured an alien space craft, (where have we seen that before?) and, as it says on one page, every scientist in the world is trying to get access to it. A few pages later, the hero walks into the deserted hangar and tells his friend no one else is going to be in there for the rest of the day.

The book is also not comfortable to read. Much of it, probably half, is speech. The rest is a mix of present tense, present progressive tense and past tense, told from the POV of the hero. The spelling and grammar are otherwise ok, but the author really needs to learn how to do contractions. And stop using capitals for full pages.

Overall, I’d have to say this is a typical vanity published offering. The characters are unconvincing and act illogically, the pacing is pedestrian, the written style is very poor and the plot is unoriginal and very derivative. There’s really nothing about this book that works for me. The author needs to read some Neal Asher, Dan Abnett or Alistair Reynolds, et al, or all of them, to see how science fiction is really done.