Books

The Predator – Alien vs Predator: Armageddon (The Rage War Book 3) – Book Review

‘The Rage launch the ultimate assault on the Human Sphere. Their greatest weapons are the most fearsome creatures in the galaxy – the Xenomorphs. Having fled centuries before, the Rage return to take revenge and claim the planet for their own. Now, through a deal struck with the unlikeliest of allies, the human race may rely on the Predators to ensure mankind’s ultimate freedom. Yet even the combined might of the two races may not be enough. The fate of the Earth may rest with a single android – Liliya of the Rage.’

The final entry in the Rage War trilogy brings humanity and the Yautja together to fight against their greatest enemy, the Xenomorphs. After two books of build-up, the war that readers were promised finally comes to a head as the Rage invade human space, launching vicious assaults on human worlds and space stations with deadly effect.

Where in previous entries of the series, and Predator literature as a whole, humans have been fighting against the alien hunters, here an alliance is formed in a way that’s not really been seen before. Yes, the Yautja and humans have worked together before, such as Machiko Noguchi in the original Alien vs. Predator comic, or Lex Woods in the Paul Anderson film of the same name, but here we see an alliance in a much grander scope.

Yautja ships engage in space battles to protect human fleets, and dozens of their warriors fight alongside colonial marines on planets overrun with thousands of xenomorphs. These scenes are some of the best in the whole series, watching humanity fighting alongside creatures that in normal circumstances would hunt them like animals.

A new Yautja character called Yaquita is also introduced in the final volume of the trilogy, a female scientist with a mechanical lower body. As the films have only ever shown hunters and chieftains/elders (as far as we know anyway), it’s nice to explore a different side of the Predator universe. Yaquita is quiet and reserved, interested in understanding how the universe works, and more than willing to work alongside her human allies.

Whilst the Rage target human colonies with the aim to cause as much death and destruction as possible in order to draw out Marine forces, the main ship travels to the sol system to target earth itself. The assault on the sol system and the Colonial Marine command should feel like an epic battle. It involves ships, a space station, xenomorphs, and marines in spacesuits flying around, but instead it’s a tough thing to read. There’s a sense of hopelessness throughout as the human forces slowly lose, and characters we’ve come to know die.

It would be impossible to write a story about war and not have characters die, and we’ve already lost a lot in the first two books, but the final chapters of The Rage War Book 3: Alien vs Predator Armageddon feel especially grim. You know that you’re coming close to the end, and you’re desperately willing characters to survive just a bit longer. Despite a human and Yautja victory, the book doesn’t end on a happy note. Characters that the reader will care about will have died, humanity is left in tatters, and there’s no real answer as to what might happen next.

The Rage War trilogy is a great reinvention of the Alien and Predator universes, one that crafts its own version of the shared universe, yet feels true to what has come before. It combines the things that we know and love from the films and books of the past, whilst taking the story in bold and dynamic new directions. Tim Lebbon has written an engaging and dramatic tale, one filled with wonder, action, and horror, that is sure to stick with readers.

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