Fiction - Science Fiction
382 Pages
Reviewed on 11/08/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lex Allen for Readers' Favorite

As a former member of the US Air Force, Marie Peterson is reminded daily of what she misses about her years on active duty versus her current civilian life. The structure, the discipline, and most of all, the sense of service to her country. She often thinks of reenlisting, and the arrival of a secretive stranger with military credentials and total knowledge of her past life and military service tips the scale. What Marie believes will be a standard reenlistment turns out to be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, the stakes of which could determine the future of everyone on the planet.

Jodie Swanson clearly knows her foundational subject... the idiosyncrasies of life and military service. She uses that knowledge along with an “outside the box” imagination to develop the fascinating science fiction/fantasy premise of Enlistment. The possibility of alien life forms having directly influenced the development of life, especially human life, on planet Earth is not new, but it certainly comes across as new in Swanson’s first-person account by the lead character, Marie. As a hard-core believer in developing a sense of reality (verisimilitude) in all facets and genres of fiction writing, I was very impressed by Swanson’s ability to make the appearance and background of alien visitation and their imprint on the development of life on Earth not only plausible but completely believable—not an easy task! I loved the story for its realism and imagination. I can easily see Marie as the heroine in future works. In summation, Enlistment by Jodie M. Swanson is a highly entertaining, fast-paced sci-fi and fantasy tale that, once read, will not be soon (if ever) forgotten, and readers will be looking for more novels from this talented author.

Jaqueline Neves

Enlistment by Jodie M. Swanson is a gripping tale that takes us on a journey through the life of Marie Peterson, a former member of the US Air Force. The story revolves around Marie's inner conflict between her past life as an active-duty service member and her current civilian existence. When the news of an impending comet strike triggers her sense of patriotic duty, she finds herself at a crossroads. Her decision becomes even more complicated when a mysterious stranger with inside knowledge of her past approaches her with an opportunity to reenlist. Swanson's well-researched narrative seamlessly weaves together elements of military life, family dynamics, and the looming threat of something that she only ever saw in her dreams, creating a story that feels alarmingly plausible and utterly relatable. The way Marie juggles her roles as a single mother, love for her family, and acceptance of her adult children's mistakes makes her a compelling and relatable character, anchoring the reader's emotional investment in the story.

Jodie M. Swanson demonstrates her writing prowess in Enlistment through a carefully crafted plot that maintains a steady and engrossing pace. The action sequences are vividly described, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat throughout the book. The characters are well-developed, with Marie's struggles and decisions resonating with authenticity. Swanson also masterfully explores themes of duty, sacrifice, and the unknown, adding depth and intrigue to the narrative. Overall, Enlistment is an enthralling blend of science fiction, military thriller, and family drama, brought to life through the author's skilled storytelling. It's a book that not only entertains but also prompts readers to ponder the boundaries of reality and dreams and the lengths one will go to protect the ones they love.

Foluso Falaye

As a mother diagnosed with PTSD due to her service in the military, Marie Peterson works hard and does many jobs to raise her children. Though Marie seems like every other person on the outside, she has been experiencing dreams and sightings of strange things for several years. Luckily for her, Marie finds out that she's not crazy when a rogue comet that initially terrifies the world ends up bringing about a different shocking revelation: aliens might be real. The world is much different from how Marie saw it. Marie must answer the call to serve her fellow humans by employing her military experience and joining the aliens in the mission to protect the earth from various attacks. Jodie M Swanson's Enlistment is a thrilling sci-fi novel involving a quirky and adorable protagonist, sophisticated alien groups, and action-packed battles.

Marie is such a likable character. Her frank and funny thoughts are related from an interactive first-person perspective, making connecting with her a natural and effortless experience. I loved when she called her mother "the whirlwind of a storm and the vision ​of a lady rolled into one." Additionally, Jodie M Swanson deftly creates suspense and curiosity with certain elements in her tale, including the dreams and their odd, surreal nature. The vivid descriptions of the aliens' features and species add to the book's appeal. I just had to find out more about them, and the book didn't disappoint. Ultimately, Enlistment moves from one event to another to create a diverse and highly memorable trip. It's one of the most exciting sci-fi books I've read this year. You should read it if you love sci-fi, military-themed books, and strong female protagonists who don't tolerate disrespect.

Natalie Soine

Enlistment by Jodie M Swanson is a compelling science fiction fantasy. The story is a personal account of Marie Peterson's life, from her humble beginnings on a rural Wisconsin farm to her unexpected military career in the United States Air Force. Initially, Marie’s decision is driven by financial constraints, but her journey takes an unexpected turn as she becomes part of something much larger and mysterious. The novel is a blend of military life, personal growth, and an intriguing extraterrestrial storyline. The story also introduces intriguing dreams, encounters with a humanoid figure named Phillip, and inexplicable events hinting at something larger and otherworldly, leaving readers eager to discover the truth behind Marie's experiences.

I found Jodie M Swanson's writing style to be engaging and relatable, making it easy to connect with the main character, Marie. The narrative is filled with personal anecdotes so that it seemed like I was reading Marie's diary, an intimate perspective into her thoughts and experiences. Swanson masterfully weaves coming-of-age, patriotism, and science-fiction elements into the story. The personal comments and reflections throughout the book add to the themes. Enlistment explores themes of sacrifice, determination, and the pursuit of dreams, making it a captivating read for young adults who may be grappling with similar life decisions. Swanson's personal connection to the military and the way she integrates her own experiences into the narrative add authenticity and depth to the story. Overall, I found Enlistment to be a well-crafted novel that combines a relatable tale with elements of intrigue; a promising and engaging read.

Alma Boucher

Jodie M. Swanson’s Enlistment is an interesting story about Marie Peterson, a former US Air Force member. Marie is constantly reminded of how much she misses being in active service. The threat of a comet awakens Marie’s sense of national duty, and she considers re-enlisting in the military. She is given the chance to re-enlist and be a part of something bigger by a military agent named Dave. The horrifying discovery of extraterrestrial life devastates Marie and her family and causes their lives to spiral out of control. In the middle of the uncertainty, Marie tries to determine if this re-enlistment is connected to anything more significant or evil. The comfort and security of her routine civilian life are destroyed, and her life will never be the same again.

Enlistment is a fantastic science fiction novel with lots of action, especially toward the end. I was intrigued by Jodie M. Swanson’s unique approach to describing the traits of a rare and new species. The twists and turns had me guessing where everything was going, and I could not put it down. The humor that was hinted at here and there in the story lightened the deep and serious plot. Both humans and the alien species were well-developed and realistic. The main characters were close and trusted one another, and they were looking out for one another. Marie is a fantastic character with genuine issues, hopes, and anxieties. After having seen aliens her entire life, she is a little weird. The story was beautifully written and an exhilarating read.