The Rage War trilogy comes to a close – following Predator: Incursion and Alien: Invasion – with Alien vs Predator: Armageddon. It’s been an odd ride, with the first book, despite being billed as a Predator title, opening with an Alien-focused action scene and the entire trilogy actually being an Alien vs Predator story in all but name.
The Rage – the human separatists determined to conquer as much of human-controlled space as possible – are making their way towards Earth with their legions of obedient Xenomorphs, leaving death and destruction in their wake. A few small, disparate groups of resisters, teamed up with the Predators – or Yautja, as they’re known in-universe – are all that stand in their way. With ex-Rage android Liliya carrying the secret to destroying the Rage from within, can the humans and Yautja triumph against the seemingly insurmountable Xenomorph hordes and their barely-human controllers?
Though I’m still not convinced that there was enough story for a trilogy, we do at least get a satisfyingly action packed conclusion to the saga with some genuinely meaningful events occurring across the Alien and Predator expanded universe continuity. The setting being a few hundred years ahead of the other Alien novels has given The Rage War trilogy a unique feel too, with a much more expansive scope than our usual focus on a single crew, outpost or colony.
The Yautja still feel a bit underpowered and the Rage-controlled Xenomorphs still have a few aspects that aren’t entirely convincing, but on the whole the intergalactic war feel is definitely a refreshing change from the norm. There’s also the rarely mentioned Arcturians, the poor, forgotten extra-terrestrial race in the Alien continuity who seem to get name-dropped every now and then, but never actually get involved in anything. They’re mentioned off-handedly here too and it serves only to make the reader wonder why we don’t see their place in the war at all.
Though the conclusion – despite the two earlier books dragging the events of the saga out – ends up feeling a little rushed and perhaps a bit too neat, there’s some intriguing plot threads left dangling that I would be happy to see more of, should the story’s continuity be picked up in some form. Tim Lebbon’s writing is really good as usual – though there’s a confusing section at the end that seems to indicate two characters dying, with both of them subsequently taking part in dialogue just a few paragraphs later without any further comment – but there are times where I wished he’d be a little more sparing with his exposition and general wordiness.
The Alien/Predator Universe’s status quo has most definitely moved on by the climax, which is most certainly no bad thing. Given that the trilogy finished in 2016 however – and we seem to have had a steady stream of back-to-basics Alien fiction since the conclusion – it doesn’t seem as if we’re heading back to the post-Rage War universe any time soon.
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