ORBS II: Stranded by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Source: ARC from author
Format: Kindle ebook
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Dr. Sophie Winston and her team of survivors fend off the alien invasion in Orbs II: Stranded, the second book in Nicholas Sansbury Smith’s bestselling Orbs series.

At the end of the world, who can you trust?

The aliens have invaded, wiping out almost all life on earth. Their goal: water. Huge spaceships are draining the oceans, and the few remaining humans have been herded into farms, where their bodies are harvested to support the growing alien army.

Humanity’s last chance lies in the biospheres that have been planted secretly across the globe. But all is not peaceful in the biosphere led by Dr. Sophie Winston. With resources dwindling and tensions high, her small group of survivors is divided. Some want to fight, some want to stay hidden, and Sophie just wants to keep everyone alive.

When one of their own, eleven-year-old Jeff, is kidnapped by the Organics, Sophie is forced to pick sides. With the help of a promising new magnetic weapon, the biosphere team just might have a fighting chance to save Jeff and the world—if they live long enough to use it.

This sequel to ORBS opens with Alex Wagner, a new character in the series. He is a survivor from one of the other Biospheres, near Edwards Air Force Base, California, and he is searching for water while trying to hide from the Organics.  It is later revealed that the Cheyenne Mountain Biosphere team, led by Sophie, are aware of his existence, as he contacted them previously.

Things at the Cheyenne Mountain Biosphere are not going well, however. Through a probe they sent out, they discover the existence of human farms – survivors of the apocalypse (the arrival of the Organics) are being herded to (specifically) a lake bed and strung up on poles in a manner similar to the formation of the blue orbs, but different. This discovery creates tensions in the team; Overton, a marine, wants to go and search the lake bed to find out if any of his men survived, while Sophie would rather keep everyone inside the Biosphere, safe. Angry, Overton leaves the Biosphere for a smoke, and Jeff follows him out and is captured by a drone as they move to go back inside.

This novel is an excellent follow-up to the first in the series, ORBS. Smith clearly depicts the tensions among the survivors, as well as their inner struggles to stay focussed. The introduction of Alex Wagner into the story opens up a new avenue of information to the reader, widening the vision of events considerably. I think one of my biggest questions relating to this is “what about that encrypted radio link”? An excellent tension-builder.

In this book we also find out a lot more about the Organics and, in particular, that Dr. Hoffman – the founder and architect of all NTC’s operations – knows much more about them than is initially understood.

Smith’s writing is once again an excellent vehicle for the images he conveys, enabling the reader to easily slip into the scenes, experiencing events along with the characters. He has definitely found his stride in story telling, and it shows. A definite page-turner for me.

I should note that this story does have horror elements, so is not always an easy read.

 

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