I picked up Defenders because the premise was interesting. Aliens come across space looking for a planet to colonize. They didn’t realize Earth was inhabited. They can’t go back. They quietly study humans. Turns out they can easily read our minds. We’re not about to share our planet. The Luyten convert some of their tools into weapons and quickly win a number of military battles- it’s easy when you can read our minds. Humans bio-engineer humanoid creatures to destroy these invaders. All does not go according to plan.
The problem is McIntosh doesn’t spend a lot of time on back story, nor does he really flesh out the characters: Human, Defender, or Luyten. Instead he works the premise. It makes for a rather flat read. Even the battles are kind of boring. I spent much of my time thinking Humans are more flexible; that the Defenders are actually a poor weapon as designed. It might work okay for a fast paced action movie, but as a book it leaves you wanting more.
Excerpts From My Kindle
When the starfish [Luyten] first rained from the sky, spinning like pinwheels, protected as they entered Earth’s atmosphere by huge porous bags that bore zero resemblance to any Earth transport, everyone had been terrified. But in every case, they’d dropped into unpopulated wilderness, in groups of three, and at first did little more than hide. Oliver set his comb back on the sink and headed back into the living room. When they began to attack, the targets were small, the goal more likely sabotage than occupation. They would hit a railway line, a wind farm, an isolated community, then disappear back into the trees, or underwater in breathable embryos that turned out to be miniatures of their mother ship. People were petrified, but it felt more like some horrible infestation than an invasion. When it became apparent the Luyten could read human minds at will, people got really scared. The attacks grew steadily bolder. Satellites. Weapons systems. Nuclear plants. Attacks on people living in the country escalated to the point where most fled to the safety of urban hubs, ceding more and more territory to the Luyten. It had been a brilliantly executed attack. – location 1160-69