Title: The Day Trip
Author: Stephen W. Cheshire
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Genre: Sci-Fi / Action
Length: 222 pages
Girls, guns, and of course some very good friends. Bradley Harrison is your everyday teenager and can’t ask for much more out of high school life. He spends his senior year looking forward to college, scoping out good-looking women, and blowing off steam at the local gun range.
However, a trip to the Big Apple is going to change his life forever. An alien species called the Armazoids, way ahead of our time lands in New York the night before and starts an invasion. Bradley has to guide a small group of people through an infected city.
But what happens when the girl he loves, her best friend, another pupil he hates plus the teacher he despises are kidnapped by the invaders. How does he get them back to Earth? Can he help prevent another invasion in the close future? You tell me!
The Day Trip is one of those books that will live and die by its action scenes for some readers. I say this because the book is incredibly action-heavy, with the invasion arc kicking in in full by a third of the way through. Luckily, the action scenes are well written and do a fantastic job of presenting the events playing out.
I wasn’t a fan of many of the characters, though that’s not due to the writing. The teenage leads act like a particular type of teen; the arrogant, over-confident, mouthy teen. My issue with that type of character is that I grew up around a few of them and didn’t have the best time in their presence. As such, it’s hard for me to like them. I would say though that the author has done a good job of making them feel authentic, so my dislike is, in essence, a good thing.
In much the same way, there’s a scene where some soldiers are trying to check out a dead woman’s *ahem* area. They don’t get to in the end, and I know that soldiers are not always the nicest of people, but I must confess, that was uncomfortable to read. If you prefer strong female leads, this is also not for you. The female characters are mostly panicky or being protected by the boys.
Suspension of disbelief will be important, as is usually the case with alien invasion novels. The teens have had some martial arts and gun training, so adapt remarkably quickly to the bloodshed. Whether you can sit back and enjoy the teens standing tall against adversity in this way or not will likely affect your overall enjoyment of the book. Again, it’s written well enough that it isn’t too hard to do so. That the characters can realistically survive based on their skills is a definite plus, but it isn’t so fervent that you never worry that they’ll die. There’s plenty of suspense in that regard.
For me, the only thing that I found to be a sticking point was the use of language. The book is set in America and stars American teens. Meanwhile, when the aliens land, they research the country they’ve landed in: America. Despite this, there are a couple of things thrown around that are more distinctly British: ‘Cheerio’, ‘Shopping Center’, and ‘In you go, sweetheart’, are the ones that stood out for me. The author is British, which explains the turns of phrase, but that really should have been picked up by the editors at Black Rose Writing.
So, how do I rate this one? Well, generally speaking, I prefer a strong female lead, and I didn’t really like our main hero here. There’s also the language issue. Despite this though, I did enjoy the action heavy pacing and thought that the story played out in an enjoyable manner. Therefore, as it managed to keep me interested despite my issues, I give this a solid 3.5 out of 5.
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