Book Reviews

The Rose: Volume 1

A masterful, dystopian science fiction thriller of telepathic evil greys, mysterious rebellion, martial arts, and Alien Vampires. Sandy Cox believed WW3 was over. But for those Alien Vampires, war has just begun. Forty-eight hours after a World War 3 treaty is signed Sandy Cox awakens in an underground compound unable to move. Tied to machines, she screams for help but no one answers. At least no one human. And they’ve taken her unborn child. Phil is a rebel freedom fighter who has had more than his share of Alien Vampires. Armed with The Blades, a sacred alien martial arts weapon, he enters the compound on a mission to find Sandy. But as he battles through the compound, Phil discovers Sandy has her own agenda. Finding her stolen child is all that matters. But the Vampires have their own plan and Sandy’s baby is at the heart of their diabolical plot. Joined by a crew of rogue soldiers, they must navigate the underground compound, combating genetically mutated humans, aliens, and monsters. When battling Alien Vampires, one thing is certain…Get Ready To Bleed! Fans of Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation, Star Wars, The Matrix, and Ancient Aliens will be fascinated by this high-powered, edge-of-your-seat action adventure.

The Rose: Volume 1 (which I’ll just call The Rose from here on out) is a book about many things. World War III. Vampires. Aliens. Vampire aliens. It is also about the promise of utopia in a dystopian society. But mostly, it’s about a war with vampire aliens. Part dystopia, part thriller, part adventure, part science fiction and part horror, PD Alleva’s book packs a lot in. It is a testament to the author’s deft plotting that all of this comes together so well.

Kicking off in the immediate aftermath of World War III, it tells the story of Sandy, held captive by alien vampires who have taken her unborn baby, and Phil, the freedom fighter tasked with rescuing Sandy and her baby. From here, Alleva builds a complex plot, full of twists and turns that ensure the reader never knows what the next twist will bring.

Throughout its 316 pages in print (and estimated 318 pages in digital), Alleva paints a dystopia where World War III is the least of your worries. The tone throughout this is tense, using horror trappings to build suspense throughout. While the threat of ‘alien vampires’ sounds like the stuff of B-grade sci-fi, the author paints them as a mysterious, fearsome threat. As a foil, vampires are grossly overused in fiction, but Alleva puts a new spin on these that is entirely compelling.

In addition to the vampires, the book mixes in telepathic ‘grey’ aliens, corrupt governments, witches, werewolves, slavery, conspiracies and more. And yet, despite its moderate page count, The Rose feels anything but overstuffed. The author weaves these threads together brilliantly, creating an incredibly tight narrative that never lets up.

In addition to the many plot elements contained within The Rose is a vast number of characters who form the many points of view this story takes. These characters are flawed human beings—and aliens, let’s not forget the aliens—who exist in a world of grey (and I’m not talking about the greys featured in the story). Alleva has presented a world that is never black and white, so neither are the characters. They are all richly written, and as I moved through the story, I could never tell who could be trusted. Often these characters are self-serving, and at other times, they think more altruistically. Sometimes, depending on the moment, characters oscillate between these two sides. And regardless of which way they fall, they are usually relatable.

If the preceding paragraphs haven’t made it obvious, The Rose is not a light read. Not in tone, as it tells a story of a dystopian future that builds paranoia. And certainly not in its writing, which packs so much into it, and rewards careful reading. While at three hundred-odd pages, this is not a particularly long book, its prose is dense. The story presents its three acts as clearly defined “parts,” which, while not changing the way the story is told, is a nice way of signposting the growing story. The pacing is not particularly quick, however; it takes its time unfurling all the elements and drawing the reader into its mysteries, which works perfectly for the story.

Throughout, Alleva leans into horror elements, but I wouldn’t classify it as an overarching theme in the book. It is more of a thriller, but there is a fair amount of realistic violence: if you’re squeamish about such things, you might want to steer clear. It’s brutal, but is also brilliantly written. And for as high a concept as The Rose brings, the violence and action throughout feels grounded. While there is some strong dialogue in The Rose, its focus throughout is on the prose. This is written well throughout, and benefits from some strong editing, ensuring that each paragraph (and there are some long paragraphs) hits hard, before flowing onto the next.

Yet, for all of its dark themes and storytelling, The Rose brings a little light through. The connection of a mother and her baby is handled delicately, and there are rare moments where characters find themselves at peace (no matter how short lived this may be). This is not a book that wears its heart on its sleeve, however, at times, it cuts through its dark subject matter to strike beauty. Such demonstrations of humanity that helps bring this book together.

As the Volume 1 in its title suggests, this is the first book in a series. It works well enough as a standalone book, but by the time you reach the book’s conclusion, it is apparent there is a whole lot more to come if you’re after the complete story.

If you enjoy science fiction, horror, vampires, dystopian fiction, war stories, alien invasion tales, or thrillers, I recommend you spend the time to sit down and read The Rose. It blends all these elements well, and instead of feeling overstuffed, blends these together for a novel that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Favourite Passage

Birds cooed and chirped in the distance, first on her right, then to her left. Back and forth they talked, and their avian songs filled the scene. Sandy smiled and laughed. She could sense the song in her chest like a gentle vibration that ignited a feeling of peace. Sandy turned to the blue sky, allowing the butterfly to continue its exploration. She turned her gaze to the butterfly, watching as it fluttered to a purple flower protruding from a rock on the opposite side of the pond.

The Rose: Volume 1, Chapter 41

The Rose: Volume 1 was provided by the author for the purpose of an honest review.

The Rose: Volume 1 is available in paperback, hardcover and eBook from retailers, including  —but not limited to—Amazon.

You can follow PD Alleva online, via:

Note: I do not post scores on reviews on this website, but do post them on my Amazon and Goodreads reviews:

Interested in purchasing The Rose: Volume 1?

Why not get it from Amazon, via the handy link below? Please note, not only will you be supporting the author, you may also be supporting me by way of a small commission from any items purchased (and no, it won’t cost you anything extra!).

The Rose Vol. 1: A Sci-Fi Fantasy Thriller

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