Author: Will McIntosh
Genre: Science Fiction
Review: About a year and a half ago I read Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh and absolutely loved it. So when Defenders came out with some raving reviews I bought the book... and proceeded not to read it. I recently found it on my Kindle and enjoyed it a whole lot while wondering what took me so long to actually get to it.
Defenders is a science fiction set in the near future. An alien race of mind-readers called Luytens is attacking humanity and humanity is losing the war. After all, how do you fight the enemy who knows what you are going to do before you even do it yourself?
In a last ditch effort to defeat the Luytens, humans develop a genetic engineering program where they design a new race of beings called the Defenders. The Defenders are made to fight and their brains don't contain serotonin, which prevents the Luytens from reading their minds. Very soon after they are created, the Defenders gain an upper hand in the combat against Luytens and the aliens surrender. However, this is not quite the end of humanity's trouble...
I thought Defenders was brilliantly plotted. You can see the gears turning and one set of problems replacing another. I also enjoyed the characters, Oliver, Lila, and Kai are all quite interesting in their own way and best of all are transformed through the events of the book.
The book is really brutal in many parts. There's blood, gore, and atrocity aplenty. There are also more subtle psychological horrors forced upon the characters. I thought it was very effectively done. There's also love, kindness, humor, which make the book not as grim as it could have been.
There are some small issues with the plotting of the book. For example, the fact that everyone speaks a different language is ignored -- the world is magically united against Luytens with perfect understanding of one another. I also found the Defenders program rather short-sighted. It seems so obvious to think of what would happen next, but no one seems to.
All in all, Defenders is fast-paced, thought-provoking and visceral. I enjoyed it thoroughly and I am looking forward to reading more Will McIntosh.