Title: The Day Trip
Author: Stephen W. Cheshire
Review: The opening to the Day Trip was brilliant, it was tense, action-packed and introduced us to a whole world lightyears beyond Earth. We meet an Armazoid named Gremlon on the Planet Sygonia as he and Comlon wait for a strike force to return to the ship. As the team approaches they are being followed and shot down by the Sygonians, when the last man not aboard the ship is shot down Gremlon retrieves the data they had been sent to collect. On their way off the planet their ship is hit, although they manage to get away the ship dies soon after and they aren’t able to make it back to their base. The group end up putting their ship down on Earth in Yenisei, northern Russia where they enter a brief conflict with the humans and are ultimately captured.
We then jump forward in time and are introduced to Bradley Harrison, he’s your average teenage obsessed with guns and girls. We follow him as he and his friends are preparing for a field trip to New York the following day. I actually enjoyed reading the mundane lives of these boys after the action packed first chapter as it provided a nice change of pace. We then return to the Armaziods’ perspective as another group led by Circo heads to Earth looking to find and retrieve Gremlon and retrieve the data he recovered from Sygonia. Their landing scene is almost an exact mirror of what happened when Gremlon landed on Earth but in reverse. At this point I was completely hooked on Cheshire’s writing style and the story itself was so engrossing that I was flying through the pages. I was also eager to learn what role Bradley would play in the wider story.
As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel, Bradley and his friends are on their way to New York and the first clue we get to the alien presence on Earth is the news report about the Hubble Telescope being destroyed. I really enjoyed the alternating perspective as in other alien fiction I have read it is either told solely from the human’s point of view or the aliens. We also learn that Circo is prepared to invade Earth in order to get the data back as the fate of their own planet and race rests upon it. The group of student aren’t even in New York an hour when all hell breaks loose although they aren’t away of the whole situation and carry on with their trip and Cheshire puts foreshadowing to great uses in these scenes. I also liked how Cheshire breaks up the tense atmosphere with injects of humour from various characters. When the invasion really begins with humans being slaughtered by the Armaziods everyone is caught up in the chaos including Bradley and his fellow students.
As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel, Bradley and a small group are separated from the rest of the students and find themselves in the middle of the invasion. Bradley and his friends who all have hand-to hand combat and weapons training immediately take up the leadership roles in the group and they try and re-join their friends. On a small side note the chainsaw scene had me in stitches, but Bradley puts his training and instincts to great use in killing the aliens and saving lives along the way. Bradley is then separated from the group he was in and he hurries to find a weapon and a safe hiding place and find his friends among the mess that the city has become. When Bradley does regroup with his friends they all seem a little too calm considering their situation but then again they are probably running on adrenaline. I also liked how Cheshire uses several different human perspectives including police officers and the military as well as Bradley’s.
As we approach the halfway mark in the novel, Bradley and his group makes some allies along the way like Roger who gives the weapons from his cousin’s shop and helps them plot a route to the police station. It was nice to see people banding together in a time of need rather than just killing each other which happens in some apocalyptic novels. When the two supervising teacher are reunited we learn that Bradley’s group aren’t the only students not accounted for Kate, Lisa and Colin are also missing in the chaos. The boys eventually find the girls and Colin although it is completely by accident. The tense and suspenseful atmosphere that Cheshire has created in this novel is astounding and with all the action you just flew through the pages without even realising it. I loved the brief scene with the President as they assess the situation and the possibility of nuking the entire city as that is the only place the aliens are currently located. As the group finds the bus station only to find it as destroyed as the rest of the city they head once more for the police station. As the group tits they take refuge in an abandoned hospital only to be one again attacked by the alien race, but once again luck is on their side.
As we cross into the second half of the novel two major things happen Bradley’s parents make contact with him although only briefly giving a little more reality to the situation and the aliens make contact with the President. They inform the humans about the first craft and give the President three hours to find the craft and its inhabitants back to them or they will destroy Earth. For a while it seems the group is at a disadvantage when the Armazoids are pouring out of everywhere but luck is one their side again when they are rescued and taken to the police station by helicopter although they have to had their weapons over the authorities. As they wait reunited with their classmates for a bus to take them to Queensboro Bridge aka the only way out of the city, everyone takes a breather and I as a reader was glad for a break in the almost relentless action for my brain to process everything that has happened.
As we approach the 3/4 mark in the novel the peace created in the previous scene was quickly shattered when Kate, Lisa and a few others are kidnapped by the Armazoids followed closely by Bradley and the boys. In an attempt to rescue their friends the boys end up kidnapping one of the aliens as the other ones manage to get away with the girls. Watching the secondary plot between the military and the President unfold kept my hanging on the edge of my seat and had me really worried for the character I had come to care for. As most of the class are evacuated to safety I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding but I still couldn’t forget about the small group still in New York and time is running out for them now. Alongside another group of survivors Bradley suits up to storm the alien ship and retrieve their lost friends and make it out of the city before it all goes to hell.
As we cross into the final section of the novel Bradley and co along with the alien Arkalon infiltrate the ship and I was seriously doubting whether everybody would come out of it alive, or before disaster strikes. During the underground scenes where the small rebellion faces off against the aliens I was a little disappointed as I was expecting it to be a little more gory but it was very well written and enjoyable to read. The ending of this novel was exactly what I wanted it to be, realistic, bloody but hopeful as well although the last few pages literally had me screaming “damn why you got to do this to me?”.
Overall, the writing style of this novel was brilliant, the plot was so action-packed and fast paced I flew through it once I got into the story and connected with the characters. While this book give off an Independence Day feel it goes in a complete different direction while following the same basic plot. I would highly recommend this book to all sci-fi fans especially the fans of alien fiction, I also felt this book would make a great introduction to the sci-fi genre. While this book do try to maintain a serious feel there are some humorous moments so funny that I was in tears because of it. I will definitely be checking out of Cheshire’s work very soon.
This book was sent to me for review consideration by Black Rose Writing & the author
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