Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Review: Keep Your Enemies Close by H.S. Stone

Keep Your Enemies Close book cover
Image from H.S. Stone; used by permission

Title: Keep Your Enemies Close

Author: H.S. Stone

Genre: Science Fiction

First, the probes arrived. Then the mother ship landed. Then Lia’s world changed forever.

With the alien invaders’ arrival, Lia and her best friend, Bryn, sign up for military duty to protect their town. When the aliens attack, however, Lia and her comrades are helpless to stop them. Worse, after the attack, she discovers several of the townspeople were abducted – including her family. Despite Lia’s pleading, no one wants to save those taken by the aliens.

Desperate to rescue her parents and little sister, Lia turns to the only source of help she can find…a captured alien invader.

H.S. Stone mentioned this project in his interview, but I didn’t know when it would release until he contacted me to promote it last month. And then he was nice enough to offer me a review copy – to which I said, “heck yes!”

Lia was enjoyable. She wasn’t exactly a kick-butt kind of girl, but she was stubborn (sometimes to the point of not thinking things through). She was also a pretty good leader and surprisingly good at working with her own half-baked plans. I thoroughly enjoyed following her through the story.

Bryn was considerate and supportive, and I would love to have him as a friend. He wasn’t as assertive as I would have preferred, but I was happy for Lia when their friendship started to become a little more.

I’m going to do all I can to avoid spoilers, because this plot was so fun to discover. It starts simple, with Lia and Bryn taking a captured alien to rescue Lia’s family. But the alien is much stronger than them, and how they manage to keep him from escaping is about a third of the story. It’s also fun that the alien was a point of view character.

There were also some interesting themes of prejudice and questioning traditions. The aliens weren’t the only obstacle – some of Lia’s fellow militiapeople weren’t particularly helpful. The ending was also surprisingly happy for an alien invasion story.

Either H.S. Stone is brilliant or I was being extremely dense. I got to the end of this book and suddenly everything made sense. I made an assumption at the beginning that turned out to be absolutely wrong, and it left me feeling like there was a huge twist at the end even though it probably wasn’t supposed to be one. (If you’ve read this, I’d be interested to hear if you made a similar assumption or if you figured it out sooner than me.)

I very much enjoyed Keep Your Enemies Close. I doubt there will be a sequel, but I’m definitely going to have to check out the rest of H.S. Stone’s books.

I received a free review copy of Keep Your Enemies Close from the author. His generosity in no way influenced, or sought to influence, this review.

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