Spencer Carvil’s novel tells the story of an alien named Charlyyk and the young girl’s acclimation to the planet Earth.
Charlyyk is beamed to Earth along with the retired SAS captain Brian Collier, who was abducted by a beam of light and dropped into a free-for-all killing pit where various alien monsters (and he) fought to the death. Captain Collier is wounded, but for unexplained reasons, another beam of light transports him and Charlyyk, hiding underneath him, to Earth. He adopts her as his child; she sees him as a father-substitute.
The beginning sets up an interesting premise, but the author’s presentation hampers its fulfillment. The novel includes a jarring number of point-of-view shifts, lack of prepositions, overuse of commas (“with kisses, all round Wendy said her goodbyes”), and awkward grammar (“Charlyyk looked at Catherine, who pointing at the tail and waggled her finger”). This creates speed bumps that make it difficult to engage in the story.
As the plot progresses, other obstacles also distance readers from the narrative. Charlyyk’s path to acceptance in Earth society is too easy, lacking important dramatic tension; as the protagonist adjusts to Earth and Earthlings adjust to her, nothing is so serious than cannot be cured with “a very special ice cream” that evaporates “Charlyyk’s sad moment.” Readers will find themselves wishing for more action, threat, and frustrated efforts of the main characters to overcome what confronts them. This tale, unfortunately, offers little of this.
Even the ending, where some revelation should reward readers for persevering, feels anticlimactic, finding Charlyyk preparing to talk to her school class about avocados and bananas having to be kept separate because vegetables “give off some sort of ethylene gas” and taking her morning run with her substitute father’s new lover.
In sum, while the plot holds potential, the story requires thorough revision in order to attract an enthusiastic audience.
Also available as an ebook.