TITLE: ALONE (THE GIRL IN THE BOX 1)
AUTHOR: ROBERT J. CRANE
GENRE: YOUNG ADULT / FANTASY FICTION
COVER TYPE: E-BOOK
Alone (The Girl In The Box 1) was a free e-book from www.kobo.com.
BLURB FROM THE COVER
Sienna Nealon was a 17 year-old girl who had been held prisoner in her own house by her mother for twelve years. Then one day her mother vanished, and Sienna woke up to find two strange men in her home. On the run, unsure of whom to turn to and discovering she possesses mysterious powers, Sienna finds herself pursued by a shadowy agency known as the Directorate and hunted by a vicious, bloodthirsty psychopath named Wolfe, each of which is determined to capture her for their own purposes.
When I woke up, there were two men in my house. As alarming as that would be for most girls, for me it was doubly so; no one but Mom and I are allowed in our house. No one. That’s rule number one.
I thought Alone (The Girl in the Box 1) was okay. It was one of those in-between novels that isn’t great or awful but somewhere in between. It was a run-of-the-mill read. The characterisation was okay for YA fiction. The novel was fast paced and the action moved at a decent speed. The biggest gripe I had is that Alone (The Girl in the Box 1) lacks any originality. Crane steals many of his ideas from The X Men.
I thought the title was great and fit the novel perfectly. Alone refers to the fact Sienna’s mother is missing and she’s pretty much alone in the world even though the Directorate take care of her. The Girl in the Box subtitle for the series refers to the fact that Sienna’s mother used to lock her in a steel coffin when she was ‘bad’ for days at a time.
The characterisation in Alone (The Girl in the Box 1) is okay. The novel is narrated in the first person by Sienna.
Sienna has her irritating moments when she becomes a whiny, petulant teenager but apart from that I found her to be a competent, adult narrator. I found her reactions to being out in the world after being a prisoner in her own home for 12 years very realistic. I found Old Man Winter who was in charge of the Directorate a very intriguing character. Wolfe, the psychopath who’s after Sienna calls him a Jotun, a frost giant and there are hint that he is indeed one. I want to read other books in the serious to find out if he is. I also found Adriana, Old Man Winter’s assistant intriguing as well. She’s so proper and efficient. I want to read other books in the series to see if she ever comes undone.
Alone (The Girl in the Box 1) is a fast paced novel. There are moments of lull in between sections of tension and drama. I thought the pace was perfect. I hate novels if they move at lightning speed and don’t give the reader time to take a deep breath. I hate novels that are so slow you fall asleep reading them. Crane gets the balance of lull and action just right in Alone (The Girl in the Box I).
The biggest issue I had with Alone (The Girl in the Box 1) is that it lacks originality. Crane takes large chunks of his plot from The X Men, Marvel’s mutant superheroes. I’m thinking of the movie versions because that’s the only exposure I have to The X Men. The X Men focuses on a bunch of mutant superheroes with special powers. In Alone (The Girl in the Box 1), Sienna and other people helped by the Directorate are meta-humans with special powers and abilities. Does this ring a bell to anyone? Wolfe, the psychopath who is after Sienna is a meta-human who’s lived for thousands of years. He is like a mutated combination of human and wolf. He reminded me a little too much of Wolverine from The X Men movie’s. Crane didn’t even bother giving him a unique name. Crane reveals at the end of Alone (The Girl in the Box 1) that Sienna is a succubus when she kills Wolfe using her touch alone. Sienna realises why her mother made her wear gloves at all times. This reminded me a little too much of Rogue, a young mutant in The X Men, a teenage girl who can’t touch anyone because she burns people from the inside out or something like that. The compound where the Directorate take care of meta-humans reminds me of the compound where mutants are trained in The X Men. I am astounded by the rave reviews I’ve read online of Alone (The Girl in the Box 1). Am I the only person who realised how obviously Crane took his ideas from The X Men and made very little attempt to disguise this? I have no issue with writers being inspired by other works. It comes with the territory. A great writer can take a well-known story and put such an original spin on it that the story that inspired it all isn’t even recognisable. A bad writer steals from others and makes almost no attempt to hide this fact. Crane is one of those. I am outraged by how much he stole from The X Men and his futile attempts to make his ideas appear original.
Alone (The Girl in the Box 1) is a decent attempt at young adult, fantasy fiction. Crane is a competent writer. The pacing is perfect. I enjoyed the balance of lull and action. Sienna is a believable first person narrator. She is for a teenage girl anyway. Crane almost destroyed his credibility as a writer by stealing his concept for the novel from The X Men and making a futile attempt to use this to create something unique. That’s just damn lazy in my book.