As movie tie-ins go, this was actually pretty good. I had seen some pretty awful reviews of the Independence Day movie sequel, and I thought I would give this book a whirl, as it is set between the two movies, and covers most of the time period between them. Having seen the second movie after finishing the book, I thought that it really helped to set up the movie, and fill in some of the gaps in the plot, and character relationships which were evident in the movie.
At the heart the novel is the stories of the two friends and rivals, Jake and Dylan, as they grow up in entirely different worlds after the attack in 1996. Jake loses his parents in the destruction of Los Angeles, while Dylan is the son of the world famous Steve Hiller – co-saviour of the world. There is an ensemble cast of supporting characters, some of whom even survived into the second movie, including Jake’s nerdy little buddy Charlie.
I guess there are a lot of things you don’t get time to stuff into a summer blockbuster movie, like character arcs, and backstory, and this book does a pretty good job of filling in the blanks. Is it great science fiction? Not really, although Greg Keyes’ class as an author shines through.
There’s a danger that this book may get lost in the wash of disappointment in the movie, but it should be an interesting read for anyone wanting to dig a little deeper.