Aegis Incursion

Aegis Incursion

This review is brought to you as part of the Virtual Book Tour for Aegis Incursion, hosted by YA Bound Book Tours. Please note that this review may contain spoilers for its prequel, Aegis Rising. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Aegis Incursion was written by S.S. Segran and first published in 2015. It is a science fiction story with fantasy elements, focusing on a group of five teenagers as they attempt to prevent a shady corporation from destroying crops across America. The book forms the second part of the Aegis League series and is preceded by Aegis Rising (2013). A further three books are planned but have not been released at the time of writing.

Jag, Aari, Mariah, Tegan and Kody are struggling to return to ordinary life. Following their ordeal in Canada, the group awoke in hospital with no memories of their three months in Dema Ki. Teased in school and hounded by the press, the five decide to head out on a road trip across Western America. They think it’ll be a perfect way to reconnect and get their heads back together.

However, the country has just fallen into economic turmoil. A mysterious illness is causing crops to fail all over America and is just starting to spread across the globe. It strikes without warning, destroying whole farms overnight. With stocks of corn, rice and wheat running low, the whole country is running short of major foods and people are rapidly becoming afraid and violent.

While this seems unconnected to the five teenagers at first, the group quickly find themselves drawn into events when they are attacked by a shady organisation and Tegan and Mariah are kidnapped. It quickly becomes apparent that the same corporation who were responsible for the poisonings in Dema Ki are also responsible for the crop deaths. The teens must rediscover their powers and embrace their shared destiny as the Bearers of Light if they are to save the world.

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I feel that before I begin, I should probably make clear that this is a stand-alone story. While it is a sequel to Aegis Rising and does continue its events, it is also designed to be read independently. The five teenagers begin the story with amnesia and gradually rediscover what happened over the course of the first book over the first quarter of the sequel. While this may be a little frustrating for people following the series, it does make it easily accessible to newcomers.

So, with that out of the way, let’s talk about Aegis Incursion. I think I’ll begin by saying that I thought it was a marked improvement on the first book. The story was much faster moving and just seemed to flow a lot better. While Aegis Rising was a bit unfocused, Aegis Incursion is quick to hook the reader and neatly intersperses character development with some very exciting sequences. I found the first half of the story to be especially gripping. The novel was an easy read and blitzed through the opening half in just a couple of hours.

The series still carries a very environmental message and provides an interesting angle in its approach. While Aegis League focused on corporate responsibility and pollution, this time the focus is more on problems with world agriculture. In particular, it shows the problem with laws against storing grain and the issues that this would cause if there was any problem with crop production. While the example given in the story is very exaggerated, it does emphasis how reliant our lifestyles have become on certain foodstuffs (grain, rice, corn) and how disastrous it would be to everyone if these staples became unavailable. The rioting caused by these shortages is pretty scary but utterly believable and hammers home the importance of the novel’s message.

However, while the story is a lot more exciting this time around, it still suffers from the same issues that I criticised in my review of Aegis Rising. My main problem is that the books just don’t need to be as long as they are. Both stories feel as though they have been padded out, largely by Segran’s over descriptive writing style. She still focuses too much on the smaller picture, describing every movement that her characters make which bogs down the action sequences.

There is also still a wide spread of narrators. The novel is written entirely in third person but the narrative voice jumps between a large number of characters at various points in the novel. While this is nowhere near as offensive as it is in Aegis Rising, it still does slow down the plot. Characters often take time to explain the things they’ve witnessed to others which is pointless in a storytelling sense. The reader has already witnessed these scenes over the previous pages, they don’t need to be reminded of them again.

The story also occasionally jumps to random narrators who don’t seem to have anything to do with the greater story. For example, the story opens with a sequence in which a young man witnesses a plane crash which doesn’t seem to link in with anything. While this irritated me at first, I strongly advise that you stick with the story. All of these tiny vignettes are vitally important to the story, even though sometimes the connections don’t become immediately clear.

However, Segran’s writing has definitely improved since her debut and this is most clear in how she writes her characters. In the first book, I found it really difficult to tell the teens apart but now they do all possess very different personalities. This is especially true when it comes to the boys. Jag, Aari and Kody are all given a lot of page time and their strengths – Jag’s reliability, Aari’s intelligence and Kody’s optimism – really complement each other.

Yet there is still room for improvement when it comes to the girls. Don’t get me wrong, they were much better. I especially appreciated the fact that they managed to save themselves after they were kidnapped and didn’t need to be rescued by the boys. However, they are still a lot blander. This is especially true of Mariah. Although she possesses one of the most versatile abilities, I am still struggling to describe her personality.

Finally, there’s the villains. In Aegis Rising, it was difficult to tell what their master plan entailed but now it’s a lot clearer. While there are a number of plot threads in this story that are left hanging (like where Hutar’s run away to and what the purple sphere that the Boss carries is for), it’s now very clear what the Phoenix Corporation’s grand plan is and the lengths that they intend to go to in order to achieve this. While I would have personally liked a little more closure, this still left me eager to read more in order to discover what the next stage in the Boss’s plan would lead to.

I guess that’s a good point to wrap up this review. All in all, I was really pleasantly surprised by this novel. Aegis Incursion was fast moving, easy to read and provided a whole lot more development for its principal cast. While I wasn’t a huge fan of Aegis Rising, its sequel shows that Segran is really improving as a writer and left me excited to see what will happen in the third book.

Aegis Incursion can be purchased as a Paperback, eBook and Audio Book on Amazon.co.uk

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shirin S. Segran
    Jan 13, 2016 @ 20:28:09

    Hello Kim,

    Thank you for hosting Aegis Incursion and your well-crafted review of the novel. I am happy to learn that you enjoyed the read and found Incursion to be more engaging than Rising.

    I am currently working on Book Three (Aegis Evolution) and expect to have it released in summer/fall this year. I would like to invite you and your readers to sign-up as Aegis Insiders to receive updates and exclusive giveaways. Please visit http://www.sssegran.com to subscribe

    Cheers,
    Shirin

    ps: I love to hear from readers. Please feel free to send me an email at aegis@sssegran.com

    Reply

    • Kim
      Jan 13, 2016 @ 20:59:00

      Thank you, I’m glad you liked the review and I’ll definitely sign up to your mailing list. Looking forward to the third book!

      Reply

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