Review of The Plant People by Barnes and Engle

Science Fiction Audiobook Review

Young Adult Audiobook - Plant People by Johnny Ray Barnes Jr and Marty M EnglePlant People
By Johnny Ray Barnes Jr. and Marty M. Engle; Multicast recording
2 CDs – 2 Hours [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2007
ISBN: 9781423308508
Themes: / Science fiction / Alien Invasion / Intelligent plants /

Rachel Pearson is a loner. Her only close friend, Tess, now lives in another city, and her life is measured in the days and hours between phone calls. One afternoon, as she is exploring the house under construction in a wooded lot near her home, she spies a strange plant from which something large has hatched, and its smell lures her to the edge of disaster. Two months later, the house is completed and a new family with teenaged children moves in. But strange things begin to happen around them, and Rachel wonders if they aren’t more than just odd people. Could they be something else entirely, something inhuman, with dark designs for mankind?

Plant People has a spunky heroine with a delightful upper-Midwestern twang, and an entertaining little dash-about plot that is short and mindlessly fun. Even the prose mostly soars, though not without frequent bumps. The worst occur during action sequences, when phrases like “…and just at that moment, what should I find but…” appear with distracting frequency. But it also borrows a little too heavily from classic works like Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and The Day Of The Triffids, and strips the borrowed elements from their deeper subtext. On the whole, Plant People is like a sugar-free chocolate meringue: Briefly enjoyable, but ultimately empty of even the calories it took to chew.

[Editor’s Note: Plant People was originally written as part of the “Strange Matter” series (created by Marty M. Engle and Johnny Ray Barnes Jr.). The series takes place in the fictional town of Fairfield. Stories in the series generally center on the children attending Fairfield Middle School who encounter paranormal situations.]

Posted by Kurt Dietz

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