Taking Back…Yourself!



Screen Shot 2013-03-21 at 5.46.52 PMLast week I took my son to see the movie “Escape from Planet Earth.” (It was totally cute in case you were wondering.) As we were walking to the car, struggling to balance 3 half full cups of sprite and the largest (half-empty) bucket of overly-buttered popcorn known to man, he asked me the question of all questions.

“Mom do you think aliens exists?”

Him being eight and me being well…old…I didn’t think my answer would spawn the reaction that it did.

Me: “Yes, I believe in aliens.”

Frick: “You have got to be kidding me! You really think there are little green/orange/purple men running around on another planet planting gardens and plotting to take over the world?” *gapes at me in horror*

Me: *gapes at HIM in horror* No, I don’t think little green men are planting gardens and plotting our demise. But I do think there are aliens. And..since I’m older and wiser than you…the probability of me being right and you being wronger than wrong – which is pretty freaking wrong, just FYI –  is pretty dang high.” (*puts hands on hips to indicate that the discussion is over.*)

Frick: “Wow, I thought you were the smart one.”

Me: “Ok, #1…I should totally ground you for that. #2. Let me tell you a little something that I tell your Uncle Dustin every-time he throws his “fake lunar landing” nonsense in my face. It would be naive of us, as a race, to think there is no life anywhere else in that vast thing we call space. Hell, we are still finding new species of bugs everyday on Earth. There are probably hundreds of planets/galaxies that we have yet to even discover. And you think I’m dumb because I think there is a chance that one of those planets may have life on it?”

Frick: “I have no idea what you just said. I’m only in the 3rd grade.”

Me: “Guess I still am the smart one then huh?”

What does any of this have to do with Amberly Wynn’s novel “Naked As We Came.” I’ll give you two guesses as to who found that mysterious planet I was referring to.

Sixteen-year-old Cassidy Tomei was one of the lucky few airlifted aboard the Wonder to the planet Nyx. This emergency exodus from Earth was meant to bring new hope for the remaining survivors of humankind, but there’s one problem. Humankind isn’t alone on this mysterious new planet.

On Nyx, Cassidy is one of many living amongst subzero temperatures and with nothing, but a meager ration of food for every household. When the rations deplete, she flees to into unfamiliar wilderness in search of food, but instead discovers debris from a foreign spacecraft that proves humankind is no longer the dominate species.

It has been a REALLY long time since I have had the pleasure of reading a Sci-fi novel. Novels that take place in space and throw around words like “frozen human cargo” and “computerized stability” sure…I’ve read those. But a novel that gets down and dirty (hmm..that sounds much more sexual than I intended) with the confirmation of extraterrestrial existences and their threat to the human race by way of blatant extinction techniques? No. Which is why (despite the butt load of editing errors) I absolutely LOVED “Naked As We Came.”

Pride aside and honesty first…I went into this novel thinking it was going to be another trumped-up YA take on what will happen when we finally destroy Earth and are forced to flee the planet. What I got? I novel about surviving what can only be described as the “alien version” of Auschwitz complete with extreme weather and mass executions.

And before you think I am totally insane for liking a book were humans are being dropped left and right for something as simple as making eye contact with their captors, let me explain why I was totally enthralled from page 1.

The characters.

I want you to take a second and ponder this question: If you were taken hostage. Forced to work for a group of people who basically think you are expendable. And told that if you didn’t comply with every rule they have set out for you you will be ground-up into puppy chow and served as Monday morning’s breakfast jello, would you? Or…would you fight like hell to find an alternative. Plot your escape. Refuse to be referred to as a number. “Rage rage against the dying of the light” as Dylan Thomas would say.

Me? I hope I would have the lady balls enough to take a stand. Even if it cost my life at least I would go down fighting.

That is the mindset that Cassidy (the protagonist) has in “Naked As We Came” and this is the reason this book was so dang interesting.

Cassidy is hard. She has had a hard existence and it shows in all of her actions, from her stubbornness, to her fierceness in protecting her family. But that is not EVERYTHING she is, and it takes the most extreme circumstances for anyone to take notice of it.

Here is a good example:

“She latches onto me, tightening her arms around my waist. At first, I don’t know what to do. I’m not equipped to comfort this kid. It’s not my expertise to cradle her the way she needs to be cradled. A little at a time, my arms reel around her, hugging back. It immediately feels right holding her and I don’t know why. I don’t even know this girl, but for some reason, there’s this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when she hugs me. I see Tariq in her blood-shot green eyes. I feel him in her bones. Both are small and feeble. Both are gentle and soft-spoken.”

The unexpected twist however, comes when her need to prove she’s “a free woman” (and I say “woman” because she does NOT read like a 16 year old girl) unlocks compassion in one of her captors. A captor that continually shoulders the responsibility for her rebellious behavior.

“Why do you envy me?” I ask aloud. “You could crush me like a bug.” “You’ve done things I’ve never even had the courage to attempt. You demanded respect. You even stood up to me knowing full well that I could’ve killed you. Around you, I felt like a coward. You forced me to deal with my conscience, forced me to reevaluate everything I thought I knew.”

Even though the plot is torturous, and the treatment of humans in a non-human environment is almost sickening. It’s the evolution of the characters who battle this captive system that make the book into a beacon of hope instead of despair. You can feel the moment when everything shifts. Where those that WERE hopeless, simply happy to be alive (even if they were treated like cattle) regain that twinkle in their eye. Stand up a little straighter. Walk a little prouder.

The action (that ramps up the closer you get to the end of the book) and the amazing world building by Wynn simply added to the overall pleasure I felt while reading this book.

If you can overlook a few missing words and some editing errors (that I hope to God have been corrected in the final version of this novel – mine was an ARC) I highly encourage you to snag a copy for yourself.

It has a little bit of everything for everyone and ended spectacularly.

Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: You are what you eat. Literally.

You can purchase “Naked As We Came” from these book sellers: Amazon / SmashwordsLulu

Add it to your Goodreads shelf!!

Rating Report
Overall: 4.8



author photo

About Amberlyn

Amberly is an avid reader, a writer and a lazy blogger. Raised in the dirty south, she is a lover of BBQ as well. At just the tender age of 22, she’s had her share of college and refuses to go back for as long as possible. After earning an associate’s degree in Graphic Design and Media Arts, she returned to her first love of writing full-time. She currently lives in Memphis TN.

Her favorite tales come from a plethora of the classics such as Jane Austen and some of today’s modern favorites such as John Green and Laurie Halse Anderson. She’s a lover of all things YA and enjoys even more putting her own spin on the genre herself. She writes for horror, suspense and sci-fi audiences of all ages and loves every second of this whimsical writer’s life.

Visit her blog HERE




About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.