As a great fan of the X-COM series of games, I was intrigued to find that this novel had somehow passed me buy, and purchased it recently. However, it has the distinct disadvantage of being poorly written and with limited understanding of the workings of the game it is based on - the original UFO: Enemy Unknown from 1994.
The novel is certainly readable and kept me turning pages to find out what happened to the characters. However the writing itself leaves something to be desired. To give one example, in the space of no more than fifty words, aliens are described to have 'poured out of' their craft twice - two different sets of aliens from two different craft, but with the same adjective. While this is not a massive problem, it is little things like this that add up together to give the impression of a poorly edited book, or one written with a lack of experience.
Regarding the novel's fidelity, there seems to be no good explanation for why the author has altered several ideas from the core game concepts. While some changes do actually reflect a more realistic alien invasion - having many different alien types on the same mission, for example - this jars with the facts of how the game is constructed. A terror mission in-game would never feature Floaters, Reapers, Snakemen, Chryssalids and Cyberdiscs all at once. A single base would never be able to house four Lightnings, three Firestorms, two Interceptors and an Avenger, let alone having space left over to have researchers wasted and twiddling their thumbs.
The author also fails to make X-COM feel like a military organisation. No sense of discipline is given in the interactions between troops, and the commander protagonist is even described as walking romantically arm-in-arm through a base with one of her pilots while on duty, losing all sense of soldierly conduct.
Small factual errors like this leave a book that is entertaining to a point, but not to a devotee of the games. Given the narrative opportunities offered by the X-COM games - particularly the 2012 release - it is disappointing to find that the only existing novel based on the game, apart from a Russian one I am yet to track down a translation of, is such an ill-understood mess.