REVIEW: The Rose – Vol. 1 – a Sci-Fi Fantasy Thriller (2020)

A Book By P. D. Alleva

In the opening chapters of The Rose by P.D. Alleva, readers are sent headfirst into an oppressive hellscape of a world consumed by the fires of yet another worldwide war referred to as World War 3. The main belligerents of this conflict are, of course, The United States, Russia, and China, which if one were keeping track of the geo-political landscape of the world as we speak, doesn’t seem too far off from reality. With the world in ruin, any survivors are forced to go underground to a world that until that very moment was pure speculation or the rantings of guys in tinfoil hats. It seems our largest cities lay on top of huge subterranean complexes that house aliens, yep you heard me right, aliens. The world governments have known and actively hidden this secret world from the general populace for a long time, but it appears that it’s time to try to integrate the two societies “for the protection of all”. To make matters much worse, some of these aliens thirst for human blood! Perhaps the protection needed was not for the warring world governments after all, perhaps it should have been from a threat within.

This is the world created for this book, a setting that isn’t 100% groundbreaking, but comes across pretty interesting simply because of how the author plays around with genre tropes and creates his own hybrid of action, thrillers, science fiction, and horror. Alleva taps into many ideas that permeate day-to-day political discourse such as rising infertility rates, international wars, conspiracy theories, and even your tried and true xenophobia to anchor this in our modern world pretty well. If you enjoy books that read in a more “cinematic” way, especially ones that are great for small chapter reads (such as one a night before bed), The Rose by P.D. Alleva keeps the reader on their toes throughout.

“Aliens do exist. Vampires too. And in this dystopia, Alien Vampires exist. In the aftermath of WW3, vampires from Hollow Earth have secretly forged an alliance with alien grays and the human elite to subjugate the human population in a quest for interstellar domination. Phase One of their diabolical plan is to destroy their greatest threat: The human genome. Now humanity is forced into reprogramming camps. Forced to endure genetic manipulation, torture, and vile psychological experiments. But from the depths of time an age-old enemy challenges the vampire’s dominion. This evolved human rebellion is trained in the ancient alien practices of mind and body. Armed with The Blades, a sacred alien martial arts weapon, and wielding the metaphysical superpower known across the universe as The Rose, the rebellion seeks to stab at the heart of the evil triad, and usher in a new age of evolution. When battling Alien Vampires, one thing is certain…Get Ready To Bleed! Fans of Dune, Annihilation, Gideon the Ninth, The X-Files, and Ancient Aliens will be fascinated by this pulse pounding, jaw dropping, scifi fantasy thrill ride.”

Speaking of vampires, I appreciate this book trying to do something different with the old literary and folkloric concept of a “vampire”. Rather than just changing superficial things, this race (known as “Dracs”) is well-fleshed out. For an example of what I don’t like, I’ve seen fiction where the story relies on a trope such as “Imagine if there was Vampires, BUT THEY COME OUT DURING THE DAY!!!!”. Instead of falling into that trap, vampires are inserted into the narrative in a way that gives them agency and their own character. I’ve quite enjoyed the recent concept of “a space vampire”, something that has been popping up a lot in various media, or stuff that I like reading at least. Recently, I listened to an audio drama called Impact Winter that featured the idea, as well as a series I should read again from Miguel Connor called The Dark Instinct series. I guess one could look back as far as old Buck Rogers episodes for the concept, but these recent works of fiction perfect it, and The Rose by P.D. Alleva is no exception.

Gorehounds will likely enjoy this book quite a bit, as Alleva particularly excels in describing the grizzly ways as to which The Dracs dispatch their enemies as well as their human food sources. Early on, there’s a scene where a vampire attacks a man in a way that I can best describe as “getting blood from a human Pez Dispenser” that really sets the tone moving forward. Everything is extremely violent and vividly described, something that would be commonplace in a horror novel, but is fairly shocking in a science fiction book. It’s a testament as to why this merger of genres works so well.

Unrelated image of a space vampire I found that seemed fitting

My only real issue with this book is that it honestly could have benefitted from another pass of editing before release. There’s a few clunky sentences and some typos, but for the most part everything reads well and the wild ideas that Alleva has put into the narrative makes up for it. These issues dissipate pretty early into the book, or I got used to his style as I was reading, I’ve read and enjoyed books with far more issues. Either way, it’s an easy read that plays out somewhat like you are reading a TV/film treatment in many ways. I mentioned that the book was written in a cinematic manner earlier, and I hold to the idea that this would make an excellent blueprint for either a TV show or a graphic novel at some point.

The Rose by P.D. Alleva is the first book in a series by this author, and this book has held my interest enough that I will definitely try to read the next installment. It mixes many genres such as horror, science fiction, thrillers, and war novels in such a way that you’d be hard-pressed to find another book quite like it anywhere else. It’s not a perfect boo by any means, but the story, characters, and setting are interesting enough that most casual fans of the above genres will undoubtedly enjoy the ride. If you are looking for Underworld meets Terminator or somesuch, this may just be the next book you should check out!


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