When aliens landed in deserts throughout the world, taking down satellites and air traffic with them, humans were barely able to put up a fight. Sergeant Josh Rayne and his boyfriend, Xavier Fisher, were both called home from leave to active duty in Western Australia. Now, Josh is with a small group of men tasked with evacuating any stragglers toward the coast and attempting to get some recon on the base the aliens (aka “the Geckos”) have established. Josh is also trying to fight his near certainty that Xavier has been killed after a Gecko attack on Xavier’s group of soldiers.
Part of Josh knows their assignment is futile. They have found no one alive in all their searching and no other troops have managed to make it through recon alive. But he is also determined to bring his government the critical intelligence, even as it is clear Australia has given over the western part of their country to the invaders. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned and Josh is captured. The Geckos are using the humans as playthings and those not strong enough are weeded out for death. Not only that, but the ship meant to take them to safety is leaving port in a few days, and if Josh can’t escape and get a message to them in time, their one hope of making it out of Western Australia will be gone. The only bright spot is that Josh learns Xavier is in fact alive and in the same prison, though seriously injured. Now, Josh will have to give all he has to organize an escape and make it to the ship in time with the man he loves.
Resist by T.J. Nichols is the first book in the Captured Earth trilogy and this really had everything I could want from this type of story. It is exciting and intense and just the right amount of horrifying. This is a short book, but the story is taut and well developed in a small number of pages. The world building here is great as Nichols establishes the alien invasion and sets the stage, dropping us right into the journey at a critical moment for Josh and immersing us in the action. The story is really exciting, with so many life or death moments. It is also scary, as the danger feels so real and the aliens are brutal and ruthless in their attempts at domination over the humans. Josh has to use all he has, both the physical and the mental, in order to find a way to break free and race to safety.
I’ll note that as the first in the trilogy, things are not resolved here. In fact, there is a big old, made me gasp cliffhanger at the end. But this feels like just the right amount of story for this type of short, intense trilogy, and I think the break in action comes at the right time.
From the romance end, Josh and Xavier have been dating a few years in secret, as they both are in the military together. They had a fight just before taking their assignments and so Josh is particularly remorseful thinking his last words with Xavier were in anger. There is a nice sense of connection between them, even as we get limited time with the two of them together. However, this is definitely Josh’s story as we are exclusively in his POV and following him throughout the book. So we really don’t get to know Xavier much aside from Josh’s thoughts and a few interactions. I think it works, however, because this story is more about the journey these guys are on in their fight to survive. I felt like there was enough here to believe in their connection to one another and carry things into the next part of the series.
This story leaves us at a major crisis point and I am so excited for the rest of the trilogy. Fortunately, book 2 is already out and book 3 is coming in just a couple of weeks, so there isn’t long to wait. (I will note that the blurb for book 2 reveals what happens at the end of this story, so definitely use caution if you don’t want to be spoiled.) I am all in for this series and can’t wait to see what is next for Josh and Xavier and the fate of the world.