Alone – Eye of the Maelstrom (Book 5) – Fabien Vehlmann

3 out of 5

This is still essential Alone reading, but it was bound to happen at some point: after four books of primarily standalone incidents that meanwhile advanced the over-arching “where have all the adults gone?” story, Vehlmann, Gazotti, and their core crew need to pause so we can answer some questions.

And surely there are still questions, but as we follow up on Book 4’s cairns, checking out what’s inside the “zone” they seem to be encircling, Alone temporarily goes into a holding pattern: we’re going more internal instead of external.  This isn’t, by any means, a bad thing, and it’s absolutely a necessity, it just makes the majority of the book more discussion based – and not necessarily productive, as it’s open-ended wondering What Ifs? – instead of the forward momentum we’ve experienced up until now.  This pacing also makes the one-two-three punch of devastatingly cool moments toward the book’s end almost too much.

Next book, though, we’ll be happily armed with all this new potential.