The Silent Invasion by James Bradley

Erich Mayer

Book One of the Change Trilogy: Callie, and her new-found friend, Matt, are young teenagers on a perilous journey.
The Silent Invasion by James Bradley

Cover image: The Silent Invasion via Pan Australia.

The Silent Invasion is the first book in a trilogy by James Bradley; the second is scheduled for release in November 2017. It is also Bradley’s first venture into young adult fiction, which is primarily aimed at readers more or less in the age range of fourteen years to their early twenties. Such books often have young people as the protagonists and that is the case here.

The heroine, Callie, and her new-found friend, Matt, are young teenagers on a perilous journey through a world infected by mysterious spores which some ten years before the story begins descended from outer space and blanketed the earth. People infected by the spores are ‘removed’ by the dreaded Quarantine Police. The heroes have to evade the Quarantine Police in their almost hopeless quest to reach their destination – the Zone. Their journey is made even more challenging because they have Callie’s five-year-old spore-infected sister, Gracie, in tow.

Over the course of their quest, they have many exciting adventures. More than once they have a close escape from utter disaster by a hair’s breadth. They meet both evil and helpful people, encounter floods and experience hunger and thirst. And they are in constant fear of the ubiquitous and well-resourced Quarantine Police. Often Callie, Matt and Gracie have to find refuge in abandoned houses. Their resilience and determination is admirable if at times somewhat unreal; similarly, the coincidences that brought Callie and Matt together more than once are barely credible.

Classifying novels according to genre may be useful to help prospective readers choose books to their taste although the oversimplification inherent in such a classification system can be counterproductive. In the case of The Silent Invasion the genre is undoubtedly science fiction. But to choose this book solely because it is science fiction could lead to disappointment because the book is so overwhelmingly aimed at a very young readership.

From a science fiction point of view the spores are an intriguing concept. Descended from space, they can transform any life form they infect. The results of these transformations are largely unknown to Callie and Matt. However, they suspect that their effect may not be as deleterious as is generally supposed although they have scant evidence for this belief.

For those young readers who enjoy this book they can expect much more about the effects of spore infection as the trilogy unfolds. For older readers, while the concept of the spores and human reaction to alien life forms raise interesting questions not unrelated to xenophobia, this aspect of the book is not sufficient to counterbalance the ‘written for the very young’ approach. There are many ‘young adult’ books, not least the Harry Potter stories or science fiction novels such as A Wrinkle in Time, which are read and loved by many adults. But The Silent Invasion is unlikely to become a member of this group.

Rating: 2 1/2 stars out of 5

The Silent Invasion

By James Bradley

ISBN: 9781743549896
Format: Paperback
Pub Date: 28/03/2017
Category: Children's, Teenage & educational / Science fiction (Children's / Teenage)
Teenage & Young Adult Fiction / Young Adult
Imprint: Pan Australia
Pages: 300

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Erich Mayer is a retired company director and former organic walnut farmer. He now edits the blog