The Sauron Saga: Death Day and Earth Rise by William Dietz
The aliens attacked on a Friday and by Sunday all the major cities in the world were destroyed and three billion people were dead. The attackers were the Sauron, an insectoid race of beings divided into a three caste system: Zin; the ruling caste, cruel, vindictive and manipulative; the Kan, the warriors caste, ruthless and efficient and the Fon, the lower caste destined to do the menial work. The Sauron also arrived with a race of slaves called the Ra â Na, furry little creatures with a keen sense of all technical things. The humans left alive are enslaved and are forced to build the place where the aliens will eventually go to die and simultaneously give birth to the a new generation.
All in all is an entertaining enough story, but I think it does not compare favorably to others like John Ringo's Posleen saga. I did not like the handling of the racial stuff. I don't think it made a lot of sense. Some of the actions were just plain illogical, like the final attack on the Guatemalan citadel.
I only have read one other book from this author, Steel Heart, and I liked it a lot. I liked these ones too but I think I was expecting something even better.
On Black Friday, the aliens attacked. The human race was enslaved. But soon, everything will change...TOMORROW IN NOT JUST ANOTHER DAY.
Great reading for anyone who loved Independence Day or War of the Worlds.
I really liked this book. It was interesting. I liked the way Mr. Dietz built the characters, both human and alien. There was even some humor mixed in, as characters wondered 'who am I to be doing this?' There were multilple groups of characters. Three groups of aliens who each had their power struggle within their group while tryig to keep their eye on the goal.
I liked it so much I ordered book 2, 'Earthrise' which was just as good.
Great story! If you liked Independence Day, you'll like this story. Dietz creates an exciting sci-fi thriller with non-stop action with many levels of social and psychological study of not only humans but the aliens, as well. A tale of the determination of the human race to survive and overcome no matter what the odds! A must-read for anyone who loves a good sci-fi story.
"A classic alien-invasion tale of survival and human triumph-great reading for anyone who loved Independence Day or The War of the Worlds." (Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times)
From the national bestselling author of By Blood Alone and By Force of Arms, this acclaimed hardcover debut takes readers into an apocalyptic scenario from humanity's worst nightmare.
-= CAUTION: This review contains references to plot elements that could be considered "spoilers". =-
I first thought about reviewing 'Death Day' and 'Earth Rise' separately. However, since the story never really ends in 'Death Day', (even the countdown doesn't hit "0" until the end of 'Earth Rise'), it makes much more sense to write one review for the entire story.
Like many who have posted here, I am a die-hard sci-fi reader. I have been reading sci-fi since I discovered my first Isaac Asimov robot novel back in the late 1960's. Although my reading preference these days falls mainly in the Star Trek and Star Wars universes, I enjoy occasionally expanding into other story-lines - especially if the novel is written by a "known" author.
FWIW, I tend to find that the whole alien-invasion/end-of-humanity theme has been over-done, but I figured that I'd give this duology a shot. I have yet to decide if it was a waste of valuable reading time or not. There were sections in both books that were page-turners, but there were others that seemed to drag. The author attempts to use the writing style of introducing multiple characters in differing situations in diverse locales, whose paths weave together ultimately concluding at the end of the story. This writing style is hard to do well, and Dietz only does an average job of it. At times, the writing was so disjointed that I needed to go back and reread several paragraphs to figure out where he switched tracks. This problem was exascerbated by the fact that the author kept flipping between a character-driven and plot-driven storyline.
Others have made negative comments about the color-based racial plot line in this book. I found it to be an interesting twist - especially coming from the pen of a white male author. Some reviewers have poo-poo'ed the thought that white supremacists idolizing Adolf Hitler would continue to exist in 2020, *and* that they wouldn't be interested in joining the rest of humanity in the fight against the Saurons. The "racialist" group 'White Rose' chooses instead to execute non-whites, homosexuals and Jews. Anyone who has had any contact with those people would know that Dietz sadly pegged it pretty much dead-on. One area of the race morality play where I think the author dropped the ball is that he spends very little space exploring the huge emotional toll it would take on those "people of color" who were not only forced into slavery, but also being elevated to the role of (the hated) overseer. With not one, but two influential African-American characters, there could have been a LOT more development of that aspect of the story.
Dietz does try to introduce a couple of 'romantic' elements to the story. I won't go into details on this, but I think that he fails miserably. In fact, I found that whole element just a bit distracting; this is a humanity-extinction tale, not a love story in space. Another distraction was the all-to-brief introduction of human slaves being taken into space to mine asteroids. It would seem that the sole reason for the author to go there was to provide a mechanism to join two characters together and then bring them back to earth. Once they return, no more page space is given to the slaves mining asteroid AR-39.
One aspect that I feel was left completely unexplored was the biology behind the Sauron's asexual reproduction. While not unique in the genre, (such as the Drac race in 'Enemy Mine'), it certainly is unusual. With almost 800 pages between the two books, the author could have spent some time dealing with how this evolved. For an aggressive insect species, having no females should eventually result in the extinction of the species. While on the topic of biology, I think the whole concept of 100-125 pound bugs stretches the envelope some. I would think that the only environment that would support that size would be one where the gravity is less the Earth's. With that in mind, the stronger gravity here would make it all but impossible for the Saurons to easily move around, let alone leap up to 50' in the air.
I initally found it odd that the Saurons opted to build their sole death/birth citadel in the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. (Of course, we are eventually teased to the fact that there is at least a second citadel in the southern hemisphere.) After a bit of thought - and a statisdtical revelation in "Earth Rise" - it does make a bit a sense. Based upon the quoted numbers, two citadels would be more than sufficent to hold the entire Sauron race. And, since even conquoring races have limitations in resources, two construction projects makes more sense. That said, the choice of the jungle of Guatemala makes no sense. If the whites in the human race are the primary source of physical slave labor, I think it would be very difficult to find enough white slaves to complete the project with.
I suspect that this duology was intended to be the start of another series for the author, either Dietz or his publisher decided that it just needed to end. This is evidenced by the fact that after almost 800 pages, Dietz wraps up the entire invasion and rebellion, puts the few surviving Saurons on a "reservation", sends the Ra'Na on their merry way, and sends the two remaining major males characters off to live happily ever after with new love interests - while the sole survivor of the 'White Rose" and her child continue on to spew racialist bile in a post-Sauron United States.
As another reviewer put it, "Fiction is, in the end, in the eye of the beholder". I agree entirely with that sentiment. While 'Death Day' and the sequel 'Earth Rise' aren't everyone's cup of tea, I have decided that it was worth the time to read them. Do I wish the author had spent more time developing or further exploring some aspects of the story? Sure. That's why it rates 3 stars.