Never Let Me

Jennifer Brozek. Permuted/Permuted Platinum (permutedpress.com), $17.99 trade paper (500p) ISBN 978-1-61868-626-8
Horror collides with science fiction in this omnibus edition of Brozek’s Melissa Allen trilogy, which sees a savvy teenager fighting to save the world from evil. In “Never Let Me Sleep,” virtually everyone in South Dakota falls asleep and dies. Only 14-year-old Melissa, a bipolar paranoid schizophrenic on house arrest, survives. Because of her immunity to whatever killed everyone else, she’s tasked by Homeland Security to find the source and stop it, but first she has to defeat terrifying insectoid aliens. In “Never Let Me Leave,” Melissa meets several other teenagers who’ve survived unusual phenomena; soon they’re trapped in a secured scientific facility with an alien capable of possessing humans. In “Never Let Me Die,” Melissa and the survivors of the previous incident undertake a hazardous mission that again brings them into contact with their alien foes. Brozek’s protagonist is a feisty, memorable heroine who copes rather well with her mental illness as long as she takes her medication; unfortunately, Brozek never takes advantage of the narrative potential in Melissa’s tenuous grasp of reality. These installments hold together as a three-part story, but they also feel like a setup for a continuing series, with the focus gradually shifting from a horror survival story to an alien conspiracy thriller. Though some elements require extreme suspension of disbelief, this is a strong, entertaining tale. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/23/2015
Release date: 01/26/2016
Genre: Fiction
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