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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and entertaining
This is a book that gets you hooked from the first page. Sam is desperately evading alien robots who have invaded earth. There are only a handful of free thinking humans left - the others have been turned into mindless drone slaves. It is a daily fight to avoid capture and find food, until Sam discovers he is not alone in surviving. It is a well written, fast paced book,...
Published on 2 Sept. 2012 by Happy and Smiling

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I thought Mark Walden did a really good job of depicting the world as its now become
The author of the H.I.V.E series, Mark Walden, has turned his imagination to envisioning the coming of aliens to earth. 'Earthfall' is the first chapter about school boy Sam and his fellow survivors, who band together to create a renegade group, intent on thwarting the unwanted intruders to their planet.

From the opening chapter, the reader is thrust straight...
Published 10 months ago by SJH @ A Dream of Books


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and entertaining, 2 Sept. 2012
By 
Happy and Smiling "I love books and audio boo... (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This is a book that gets you hooked from the first page. Sam is desperately evading alien robots who have invaded earth. There are only a handful of free thinking humans left - the others have been turned into mindless drone slaves. It is a daily fight to avoid capture and find food, until Sam discovers he is not alone in surviving. It is a well written, fast paced book, perfect for the teenage market. The characters are likeable with lots of humourous banter. It has elements from many similiarly themed sci-fi movies but also has some original ideas that make it a 5 star read. There was nothing disturbing in the contents that you wouldn't want your child to read, and edge of seat excitement most of the way through. I like happy endings and this book ticked all the boxes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bring on the next, please, Mr Walden., 20 Nov. 2012
By 
Roroblu's Mum "ROROBLU'S MUM" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Wow, this was a book that gripped me by the throat and dragged me into the pages as soon as I started reading. If you're not a YA reading this (like me; I'm the parent of a YA), it might be helpful to have one of these around when you, as there are certain terms that I had to look up.

Nicely descriptive with a skillful balance of gore, terror and a smidgen of dark humour. I must admit that I had to re-read a couple of sections to make sure I grasped some of the 'tech-speak' but then again, I am slightly older than the 'target' audience - I struggle with the instructions for my mobile phone!

Overall a good engaging read. Bring on the next one!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scifantastic, 14 Nov. 2012
By 
Beanie Luck (Cotswolds) - See all my reviews
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This book is one of the best books i have read in a while.

Its a childrens book but doesnt read like a childrens book if that makes sense.

This is about Sam, a teenager who lives with his mom and dad and older sister.

One day Sam wakes up and all the people in the world have turned into zombified drones, unable to speak or communicate and alien ships have landed in most of the major citys in the world.

18 months later, Sam is forced to live in the sewers to stay safe, only coming out at night for fear of being caught by the hunters, a robotic alien life force.

One day however Sam discovers that he is not as alone as he might think.

The story then turns into ALien vs Human action, the resistance fighting against them and what happens.

The big twist regarding Sam i didnt see coming and and the author has set the book up for a sequel which i am happily going to buy to find out what hapens next.

In my opinion Syfy should buy the options to this and turn it into a tv show, it would be fantastic.

I can already see someone like Taylor Lautner or Nathan Cress as Sam.

Would very happily recommend to anyone over the age of 10 as there is no sex scenes or swearing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peoples of Earth are turned into unthinking robots, except Sam?, 24 Aug. 2012
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Susman "Sussman" (London Mills IL) - See all my reviews
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This book is rich with spectacular but sinister technology with Grendels, Drones and Hunters on the attack, We are thrown headlong into the narrative of the adventure where a group of kids fight against An Alien force, our lead character survives, while his sister and mother are mysteriously turned into human androids, that are like puppets on string, All Sam can do is to go on the run. Trying to keep hidden from the savage weaponry that fills the streets and the skies above him, it seems that this is the best he can do. However, his luck eventually runs out and he is corned, only to be rescued by a group of kids who have also survived. With them, he trains to become part of an organised fight back, which is led by the all-powerful Dr Stirling. Why and how does Dr Stirling know so much? Sam discovers the truth in this gripping and at times gory story of survival.

There are thrills, spills, sophisticated gadgets, pursuits, explosions and at stake is, only, the whole planet. Earthfall is the start of a brilliant and thrilling new series from the creator of the very popular H.I.V.E. sequence. This is Teen, Speculative fiction at its best -enjoy!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read For Alien, H.I.V.E. and Post-Apocalyptic-World Lovers!, 5 Jun. 2012
4¼ Out of 5
It started off as a signal. Then they came and enslaved humanity.
In the world of Sam Riley, there is danger everywhere: alien ships, Drones, mindless human slaves. To make everything worse, supplies are running low and after an almost fatal run-in with a Drone, Sam has a seriously infected wound.
All alone, Sam doesn't know why he's immune to the mind-enslaving signal or whether he's the last free-willed human left.
Until he's rescued by a band of teen survivors just like him - also immune to the signal. It's only then that he discovers the truth behind the invasion and how it started.
And starts to fight back...
A book for fans of V and Falling Skies, Earthfall sucked me in from the word go. I love all of the H.I.V.E. books so couldn't wait to get my hands on Earthfall! It didn't disappoint! There was alien action, mind control, a group of teen rebels and constant suspense and action; I just sped through the book, unable to put it down. It may not have been the most complex book, but it was an addictive, suspenseful, utterly enjoyable read that I loved to pieces. I think H.I.V.E. and alien-post-apocalyptic-world lovers will love this just as much as I did!
I loved all the characters because they were all unique and really real. I loved Sam, who was brave and practical and very relatable (unlike Otto from H.I.V.E., who's a freakin' genius). Sam was a natural leader, a boy just trying to survive in a broken world. I really liked Rachel, `cause she was kickbutt, snarky and an ace with a gun! Jay was brilliant too, with his snark and cheekiness and funniness - also, you just gotta love the Jay Plans! I really loved was the band of rebels, how they stuck together and how they teased each other. The relationship between the scavengers (or "reclamation technicians") Kate and Adam really made me laugh! I really liked Jack as well - he was funny. Jackson and Starling were both brilliant and wonderfully padded out characters too - Jackson in particular I loved.
The book started with our hero getting chased down by an alien Drone, which is soon joined by others, and from there the action and suspense just grew and grew! I loved how initially we didn't know exactly how the invasion went down and how a flashback of Sam's revealed the start. It wasn't the most original overall or the most complex plot, but Walden sure did throw in some curve balls! I officially cannot wait for Earthfall II to land! As with all Walden's books, the writing was amazing. I felt like I really got into Sam's head and could see it all. Also, the action scenes were wonderfully written and adrenalin fuelled! There was so much suspense - I was constantly on the edge of my seat! My only qualm was that the names of the aliens kept changing - from "Drones" to "Hunters", "The Threat" to "Voidborn". Speaking of the aliens, the world itself was terrifying! Alien Drones, huge ships, alien-controlled-humans, known as Walkers, and their masters too, sucking up all food and weapons and medicines. The zombie people creeped the heck outta me, as did the huge, absolutely terrifying Grendels. Eek! I loved how we slowly learnt more about the Threat and their reasons for coming to Earth.
Y'know, if you ask me YA/MG literature is seriously lacking in TV-worthy alien-post-apocalyptic world books. Which is a shame, 'cause I do love me some Fallen Skies and Luke to pieces and I know kids would love books just like this too. So thank god for Earthfall
With an alien invasion, brainwashed humans, a band of rebels and one boy in the middle of it all... Earthfall was action packed, fast paced, addictive and suspenseful. Ok, so this book was very, very Sci-fi, which isn't a genre I instantly go for. But what I loved about this one was that even though it's Sci-fi and aliens, it also has loads of post-apocalyptic action and was a teeny bit dystopia-esque. These genres combined with kick-butt characters, nonstop action and suspense and an underground rebellion made for an addictive, super fun book I couldn't put down! It did have some similarities to other alien TV shows, but I absolutely loved the characters, writing and plot, and I just know that kids and teens will love it just as much!
How can you resist Sci-fi-dystopia-post-apocalyptic?! Yay!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I thought Mark Walden did a really good job of depicting the world as its now become, 8 July 2014
This review is from: Earthfall (Earthfall 1) (Paperback)
The author of the H.I.V.E series, Mark Walden, has turned his imagination to envisioning the coming of aliens to earth. 'Earthfall' is the first chapter about school boy Sam and his fellow survivors, who band together to create a renegade group, intent on thwarting the unwanted intruders to their planet.

From the opening chapter, the reader is thrust straight into the fight as our as yet unnamed hero battles against a drone-like creature - an octopus type object with deadly tendrils. This left me in no doubt that the rest of the book was going to be a rollercoaster ride for survival.

I thought Mark Walden did a really good job of depicting the world as its now become. The majority of humans have become Walkers, as Sam calls them and among them are his mother and older sister. There's quite a detailed and slightly complex explanation of events near the end of the book which provides a fresh perspective on things which have happened. This was a bit hard to follow at first but I gradually began to make sense of it all and found it fascinating.

I would have liked to have seen more of Sam's progression in the book, as his training was skipped over quite quickly. Although he's wily and tough from the beginning, I think after having been on his own for such a long time, that it would have taken him longer to adjust to being part of a group. It would also have been interesting to have found out more background to some of the other people that he joins up with.

'Earthfall' was a promising start to the series which will appeal to slightly younger readers, boys in particular. There's lots of action and excitement which will have them totally hooked!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable, and has several plot holes, 6 Aug. 2013
By 
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss.)
Teenager Sam has been surviving alone for 18 months, since alien's invaded and everybody turned into mindless zombies.
One day though Sam is approached by a couple of other kids, who also seem to have survived, and then take him to the place where they live - with a group of other kids underground, led by a scientist called Dr Stirling.
How is it that these kids haven't been zapped by the aliens? How did they find Sam? And how can they fight back?

This book was a bit unbelievable, and I didn't like the ending.

Sam was an okay character, although I thought that him talking to himself was the least of his worries having not seen another non-zombie human being in 18 months. I thought that he had done well to keep his spirits up for so long, all things considered.

I did have some trouble with the storyline in this book. I think it's aimed at younger teens really, and they probably wouldn't have the issues that I had with it, but even so, I'm going to point them out.
When Sam is rescued by these other kids, they clean him up a bit, teach him how to fire a gun, and five minutes later he's a critical part of their anti-threat task force. I mean really? This happened way too quickly for me.

Then there was the issue of the other humans. Supposedly, the aliens used some sort of signal to control them, which turned them into mindless zombies. At one point though the kids go to Wembley stadium, and find it full of rows of lying down zombie humans, which they say must be where they store them. My question is; how do they keep them fed, watered, and clean? They can't just have them lying there all the time or they'd all be dead within 3 days, yet there's no mention of the aliens doing anything more than `storing' them.

There were also a couple of other plot-holes like this that I came across that I don't want to mention because of dropping spoilers. There were a couple of twists in the tale, but I guessed them quite early on unfortunately, and they really weren't all that impressive when they were revealed.
I didn't like the ending much either. It was like the author got bored and just decided to end the story. Basically as soon as they got some little victory over the aliens, we were given a sort of message of hope, and the book finished. The end. Not impressed really.
Overall; a less than exciting post-apocalyptic story, that was unbelievable, and didn't have a very good ending.
4.5 out of 10.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Archetypal Aliens, 25 Oct. 2012
By 
D. Elliott (Ulverston, Cumbria) - See all my reviews
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Author Mark Walden has already made a name for himself with a series of young adult novels about children learning skills to become criminal masterminds. He uses his own fertile mind for `Earthfall' as the first of another series supposedly based on his mission to document warnings of disaster and alert the people of Earth so they can be prepared. The plot is a straightforward stereotype featuring an alien invasion but fans of sci-fi, fantasy, apocalyptic and dystopian stories will not be disappointed with the dramatic situations and non-stop action of `Earthfall' encompassing fights, chases, escapes etc. together with undercurrents of secrecy, betrayal etc.

Amazon publicity blurb perhaps give too much away in setting the scene of the first few chapters and leaves it at the stage where the battle begins against a form of extra-terrestrial existence. The main protagonist is Sam Riley who is skilfully developed into a natural leader with many well developed characters as his companions, and narrative is enhanced by excellent dialogue between survivors including much humour. It is refreshing to find these are not invincible and this adds tension and suspense to a fairly average plot, yet with a unique denouement which cleverly leaves loose ends and the battle to save Earth still to be won. Add to this the author's ability to evoke feelings of foreboding and fear, and to interweave graphic descriptions of alien beings plus their spaceships, robots etc. and it will not be surprising if readers are clamouring for `Earthfall II' and Sam's next adventure to give Mark Walden a fan base as with his earlier novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accomplished sci-fi synthesis, 12 July 2012
By 
Steve Benner "Stonegnome" (Lancaster, UK) - See all my reviews
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"Earthfall" is the first part of a new series of sci-fi 'invading alien menace' books by Mark Walden (author of the popular "H.I.V.E. (Higher Institute of Villainous Education)" series) aimed primarily at teenagers and young adults. For those who like their action thick and fast, this book will not disappoint; equally, however, there are plenty of other things to like here -- Mark Walden's writing style is accomplished and yet easy on the brain, allowing the pages to turn at a fine old rate, while the story line and the characterisations are both entertaining and engaging enough to keep a reader up long beyond their sensible bed-time, regardless of their age! The author does a good job of keeping a tight rein on episodes that could all too easily become hackneyed and manages to keep the excitement tempered with humour, with the violence never becoming overly graphical or gratuitous. By and large, I have to say that I found everything in the book pitched just right.

While the book is far from original, either in its central ideas, its storyline or even much of the detail, it represents a synthesis of ideas drawn from a sufficiently wide range of originals -- John Christopher's "Tripods Trilogy"; the BBC's "Dr Who"; "DOOM" and "Resident Evil" shoot-em-up computer games; "Star Wars", "Alien", "The Matrix" movies, to name but a few of the more obvious -- and in such a convincingly internally consistent manner (and within a well conceived and carefully planned out story arc) to stand fully in its own right as a new landmark of teen fiction. It would also look very spectacular in a 3D big screen adaptation...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Decent, but not fantastic, read., 2 Sept. 2014
By 
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This review is from: Earthfall (Kindle Edition)
This had me hooked as I love to read how writers explore the subject of our society, an indeed the world as a whole, being shaken and torn apart by a catastrophic event. Be that zombies, aliens, natural phenomena, it's fascinating to read fresh new ideas on this genre.

Earthfall is pretty damn good. I was hooked start to finish. The plot moved at a decent pace, the characters were engaging, though it would have been better for some of the background characters to be more fleshed out as I found myself wondering which of them I should care about.

The arc of Sam is well paced and the implications of the invasion lead to a much wider story, unexplored as yet by myself, so I can only comment on this book, though I know there are others in the series.

I did have some issues, and though it's clear this story is aimed at teenagers who might not grumble at such details, I can't help but find them annoying.

Sam talking to himself was weird. I guess we all talk to ourselves from time to time, but this felt forced somehow, as if the author thought he needed to put snippets of dialogue in to break up the narrative for fear of boring them with long chunks of description. It wasn't necessary as the narrative sped along nicely without them.

Maybe there's a need for clichéd characters because without them certain stories wouldn't work. This said it seems that here those standard types are slotted neatly into place - the young hero, the scientist guy with secrets he only shares when the plot needs him to, the troop of supporting characters with the banter and grim determination against all odds, and so on.

Not saying this is a bad thing as it worked well here, but it felt a little too easy, like everything unfolded as it should without too much effort from the author to make things difficult. Again, this is likely due to the story being aimed at a younger audience, so it's not exactly bad, just not brilliant.

Earth Fall popped up on recommended reading on Amazon due to having read Charlie Higson's The Enemy series. It's probably not entirely fair to compare the two stories, but since they do indeed share similarities (not to mention they have a character called Sam) I was compelled to compare them, from a plot and character standpoint, not writing style.

Side note on style - readers have their favourite authors, Stephen King = exploring or looking at something from a different and unique perspective, just as they have favourite movie directors, Michael Bay = big bangs, JJ Abrams = lens flare. I couldn't find a single quirk or style here by Mark Walden that stood out as different or special. Sure it read well and moved along nicely, but there wasn't much pop or wow factor.

Higson gives his characters an aim and then puts one obstacle after another in their way to hinder them as much as possible. That in itself is believable because characters (as in real life) don't just get what they want. Having said that, too many hurdles can become unrealistic and annoying so there must be a decent balance.

There don't seem to be many barriers in Earthfall. Yes, it's a bad situation, and yes, there's the obvious giant hurdle to get over, but like I said, it's a bit too easy for the good guys to get what they want. I felt somewhat cheated out of any small victory along the way as it felt the struggle to get there wasn't as tough as it could have been.

I like big plots, massive ideas that are drip fed to the reader until they begin to realise the scope of the story is much bigger than they realised. But I'm also a big fan of character driven stories. For me that's the adventure, the journey of the character through the changes. So when plot gears force a character to do things it feels awkward and formulaic.

The instance of Sam being rescued felt inevitable (though I guess it would have been a different story if he hadn't)because of the lead up to it. It bothered me that he was shown how to use guns, something the rest of the characters had been doing for 18 months, and way too quick Sam became an expert and was an important and crucial part of the team.

I wonder if teenagers would accept that more than adult readers because of how they're socially conditioned these days to accept and demand how fast things happen, both in real life and fiction.

Thinking about it, Sam seems to be the only one who progresses through an arc, starting in one place and ending up in another, at least in terms of personal growth. Though I find it weird that he takes everything his stride as if he's playing a disposable video game of his own life.

And there's the issue of conflict. Sure, there's conflict (to a limited degree) between Voidborn invaders and the surviving teenagers. Sadly there's not much more conflict to be had, and that is a shame as conflict is what drives a story. Everyone seems to get along with each other.

One huge thing that bothered me, and I can't not say this, was how the Voidborn control humans, turning them into mindless slaves (though not zombies which was made very clear in a roundabout way) who were then stored in large areas like warehouses etc. That isn't so bad since it makes sense for an invading force like the Voidborn to gather its workforce up, stock up on food and water and keep them together ready for working on whatever that thing in London they were supposed to be building.

Weird how that's not made clear to the reader.

So, that bit's fine. What I didn't like was the clear rip-off of Stephen King's Cell, where the good guys head to Wembley stadium and find all the mindless humans laying on their backs. Whilst it does make sense, when storing human slaves/drones, to keep them somewhere, that scene felt plagiarised to a degree. Sure, all stories are copies of other stores and writing fiction is the method of regurgitating or retelling the same plot in a different way.

But that was just wrong. It could have been done in many different ways. It simply felt copied, without much hard work on the part of the author to try something new. Now, this isn't coming from a Stephen King fan boy at all, and I'm happy to say where old Kingy went wrong in some of his painfully bad books, but it's pointing out that borrowing an idea without putting your own slant on it feels like cheating.

There were parts of the story that felt rushed and left unexplored, Sam's sudden need to track down his family but then forgotten for 18 months, for example. And also the scientist guy (sorry, can't remember his name) picked the perfect moment to give the reader a vast chunk of exposition just so Sam and the reader can be brought up to date in one quick hit.

It felt forced and unnecessary, like when the bad guy in movies tells the hero everything because it's assumed they're going to die, only for the hero to escape with all that convenient knowledge.

However, all those irritating bits and pieces aside, I did indeed enjoy Earthfall. I continued to turn the pages because I wanted to know what happens next. I cared about Sam way more than the other characters. I like the fact that the Voidborn used to be something else. I am intrigued to learn where they came from and how they contacted humans, and how the struggle will continue to play out.

Earthfall isn't a brilliant "must read" book like some reviewers may call it. It's a decent, entertaining, and above all easy, read. And despite my irks I am looking forward to reading the next one.
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Earthfall (Earthfall 1)
Earthfall (Earthfall 1) by Mark Walden (Paperback - 6 Feb. 2014)
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