When they finally land on an island that will not be the end of their struggles, because to survive they need food and water - and water is a precious resource that is not always easy to find even on a large island. As long as they are all focused on themselves and their own needs they will fail, because to survive on the island they need more than their own skills, they need the skills of the whole team working together. It will take all of their skills - survival skills, animal knowledge, medical triage - to get them out of the mess they are in.
Survival is the first book in the ALPHA force series and is an explosive start to a series that focuses on some of the many real dangers people face in our world - exploitation, forced organ harvest, the rape of nature for precious resources - and the team facing these challenges are teenagers with a unique combined skills set. I first read Survival when it was released more than ten years ago and I was a little bit worried that it may have been terribly dated, but it was surprisingly current and topical.
Chris Ryan was in the SAS and has written nonfiction accounts of the SAS and adult action thrillers for many years, and he has increasingly found his feet in the teen fiction market with a range of series featuring tough as nails teenagers who do things for themselves rather than depending on adults to bail them out of trouble. The ALPHA force series was one of the first and while the book lacks deep personal descriptions of the characters and a deep look beneath the surface of their psyches - it instead offers a lightning paced story driven by drama and action where you can't help but cheer for the characters as you experience the challenges through their eyes. While each member of ALPHA force has a unique set of skills, none of them are so perfect that you fail to relate - there is going to be at least one character in the team that real teens will be able to relate to and connect to.
This is a retro read because it is more than ten years old, but this series has stayed in print (or at least been reprinted) and re-reading it reminds me of why I liked the series so much in the first place. If there weren't so many books to read on my reading shelf I would be launching myself back into the rest of the series (but that will have to wait until I have more reading time free). This is a series for all reading abilities, and although some of the content in the series is uncomfortable reading, 'tweens should be able to cope with the content as well as the reading level.
If you like this book then try:
- Ratcatcher by Chris Ryan
- Desert pursuit by Chris Ryan
- Agent 21 by Chris Ryan
- Boy soldier (Traitor) by Andy McNab
- The raft by S.A. Bodeen
- Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
- The darkest minds by Alexandra Bracken
- The recruit by Robert Muchamore
- The compound by S.A. Bodeen
- Deep end by Sam Hutton
- ACID by Emma Pass
- Flash flood by Chris Ryan
- People's republic by Robert Muchamore
- Code Red: Battleground by Chris Ryan
- Furious Jones and the assassin's secret by Tim Kehoe
- Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy
- Nickel plated by Aric Davis
- Forbidden island by Malcolm Rose
- I hunt killers by Barry Lyga
- Acceleration by Graham McNamee
- Death cloud by Andrew Lane
- Variant by Robison Wells
Reviewed by Brilla