The second book in The Rage War trilogy (following Predator: Incursion), Alien: Invasion centres on the newly revealed ‘Rage’ and their weaponised Xenomorphs, each battalion of which is headed up by an android named after a famous Earth war hero, vengefully making their way into human-occupied space – taking down humans and Yautja alike.

If a human civilisation naming itself the ‘Rage’, using android commanders calling themselves things like ‘Rommel’ and ‘Alexander’ seems a bit on the nose – well, subtle isn’t a word that author Tim Lebbon seems to be overly familiar with.

As well as these decidedly clunky touches are Shakespearean ship names and numerous references to people connected to the Alien franchise, but thankfully there’s an interesting, if at times long-winded, tale here. Unfortunately, it still feels a bit like it’s setting up for the next book – a problem which also afflicted the first book of the trilogy. There’s also still the issue of there being far too many characters – with only a few of them being truly interesting to spend time with.

The time period the trilogy is set in does at least give the story a more unique universe than we usually see in other Aliens or Predator fiction, with some great worldbuilding by Lebbon. It’s just a shame that the story seems stretched far too thinly, over way too many disparate threads (which don’t all feel as if they need to be there), to hold the reader’s attention throughout. Will the third book – which finally carries the Alien vs Predator branding, dropping the single-franchise naming convention of the first two – finally steer the ship in the right direction?

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