If you’ve ever wondered what exactly happened at Hadley’s Hope that led up to the events of Aliens, then Alien: River of Pain is the perfect book to get caught up in. From page one and on, I couldn’t stop reading and as the last page turned, I wished for more. Christopher Golden has done a wonderful job with the Alien universe and I think once you crack this book open, you’ll agree.
Short nitty-gritty plot description from the back cover is as follows: When Ellen Ripley finally returns to Earth, she learns that the planet LV-426—now called Acheron—has been colonized. But LV-426 is where Ripley and the crew of the Nostromo found the original Xenomorph—the killing machine known as the Alien.
Protected by the Colonial Marines, the colonists seek to terraform the storm-swept planet. Two such residents are Anne and Russell Jorden, seeking a fortune that eluded them on Earth. On Acheron, Anne gives birth to the colony’s first newborn. Rebecca Jordan, also known as Newt.
The wildcatters discover a vast, decaying spaceship. The horseshoe-shaped vessel is of particular interest to Weyland-Yutani, and may be the answer to their dreams. But what Anne and Russ find on board proves to be the stuff, not of dreams, but of nightmares.
Tatlock’s Opinion: The beginning paragraph of this short review pretty much encapsulates everything I can say about Alien: River of Pain. I loved getting to the know the people of Hadley’s Hope, also known of LV-426 and especially the deeper knowledge and connection you gain from Rebecca ‘Newt’ Jorden’s family and the other residents. In the movie they come off as cannon fodder, but the book dives deeper into their history and you really feel for them and their struggle to stay alive, which will make watching Aliens all the more better.
It was also pretty neat how River of Pain cuts back to Ripley after her extended hyper sleep and the scenes you see in Aliens the movie. You get to be inside Ripley’s head and listen to her fight over not wanting to go back to that dreadful planet, Acheron, but how she must in order to be able to move on. Also, tying in the first book Alien: Out of the Shadows was pretty cool. Ripley can’t shake the feeling she has dealt with the Aliens on more than one occasion, but can’t figure out why. It’s a small nod, but it connects everything together wonderfully.
Any issues? Only one. When Russ and Anne Jorden visit the Derelict, for the some reason the location of the eggs have moved and this seems like an obviously glaring continuity issue, which caused me to go back and read the page a few times to make sure I didn’t read it wrong. It’s a small issue, but one that shouldn’t of happened.
Tatlock’s Verdict:Alien: River of Pain is a wonderful Alien book, that’s tense, informative, exciting and expands on the universe we all love. The book leaves it open for more in the future and I can’t wait to see what else is planned. Highly Recommended!