Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Review: POD by Stephen Wallenfels

POD by Stephen Wallenfels
Publisher: Templar Publishing
Released: September 1st 2011
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

PODs - strange alien spheres hover menacingly in the sky, zapping anyone who ventures outside.

Josh is 15 and stuck in his house with his OCD dad. They're running out of food... Megs is 12, alone and trapped in a multi-storey carpark. The hotel next door is under the control of dangerous security staff, but Megs has something they want, and they'll do anything to get it...

When the aliens invade, the real enemy becomes humanity itself.

What would you do to survive?
(from Goodreads)

POD was a fantastic, gripping read that literally kept me on the edge of my seat! Told from alternating point of views, POD is the story of fifteen-year-old Josh and twelve-year-old Megs, and how their lives are torn apart when Earth is invaded by alien spaceships, or what Josh refers to as “PODs” (“Pearls of Death”). Josh confined to his house with his obsessive dad, who immediately begins to draw up plans and create logs of the PODs’ every move – and it’s driving Josh crazy. Megs is stuck in a hotel car park, all alone since her mum disappeared the first day of the invasion. Food is scarce, but venturing outside means being “deleted” – disappearing in a beam of bright light. With the chances of survival becoming slimmer each day, both Josh and Megs struggle to keep going, and they know sooner or later, the aliens will eventually attack. The only question is, when?

I really enjoyed POD – I was so engrossed in the story that I didn’t even realise I’d been reading it until 2am! I liked the fact that it was narrated by two characters, because we got to see how the invasion affected each individual differently. Josh was at home when everything happened, so for him, it was like his whole life was turned upside down in the space of a few short hours. To go from cramming for a History test to rationing food and conserving water was so drastic and unexpected, there was no way he could have prepared for such a huge change. I felt sorry for him, and everything was made worse by the fact that his dad had started to act very strange - cleaning everything meticulously and organising the pantry – it was unnerving, and I could understand why Josh was so frustrated. He didn’t want to just sit there and do nothing, he wanted to go out and help people, but of course that was impossible, and his father was determined not to let him out of his sight. I think Josh was a very believable character, and the questions he was asking were the exact same ones I was too – where did the people who went outside disappear to? What will happen when the food runs out? When will the PODs attack? I could definitely feel how angry and panicky he was at this sudden horrifying upheaval of his previously normal and happy life, which really helped me to connect to his character.

Megs, on the other hand, viewed the invasion differently. To her, it was another terrible event added on to a list of horrible things that had happened to her and her mother recently. While I did like Josh, I have to say, I think I liked Megs the most out of all the characters. She’s was only twelve years old, yet she was so brave and managed to cope and keep herself alive despite being all by herself with no-one to help her. I don’t know how she did it, but each day, she came up with a plan for herself and carried it out, and she managed to survive on her own, even though she was so scared and still missing her mother. I admired her courage and think she did well to make it as far as she did without any help.

One thing I really liked about POD was the way things were revealed to the reader, bit by bit. At first it seemed as though Megs and Josh had no connection to each other, but towards the end, the mystery began to unravel, and we discovered why we were reading from the points of view of these two people in particular. I thought it was quite clever the way they were connected, and I’m really interested in what will happen in the sequel – will Josh and Megs eventually meet? How will they react? The last few chapters of POD were pretty fast-paced, and a lot of things happened that completely changed the way everyone was living – especially on Josh’s end. While no explanation for the POD invasion was offered in this book – apart from Josh and his father’s guesses – I’m sure we’ll learn more about everything in the next book, and I look forward to reading more about Josh and Megs (especially after that ending!).

Overall, POD was a thrilling and enthralling read that kept my eyes glued to the page. I’d recommend it to fans of survival novels, or to anyone who enjoys young adult with elements of sci-fi. I can’t wait to read the next book – I’m curious to find out what the PODs will do next!


  1. Ohhhh, this is a new book to me! It sounds really awesome, so I'm definitely going to have to check it out! Thanks for the review!

  2. Same as Christy, this is a new book for me too! And I'm totally intrigued! Fantastic review, Liz. I especially loved how much of an emotional attachment you seem to have grown to the characters, really empathsising and getting into their heads. So excited to check this out and learn about the PODs!

  3. This sounds amaaaaazing. Need to get my hands on it. Great review Liz!

    The Cait Files

  4. This book sounds amazing! I must check it out!!

  5. Ok, I'm seriously sold on this, and that doesn't happen to often with books I hadn't previously heard of. Honestly, it sounds so refreshing! Great review :)

  6. Loving the two different viewpoints in this! I just love that story telling device, being able to see the same event from different angles.

  7. Cool review. I have to say, tho, that when I first saw it I thought it was P.O.D. (payment on demand)...


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