The Lesson

The Lesson

THE LESSON explores the nature of belief, the impact of colonialism, and asks how far are we willing to go for progress? Breaking ground as one of the first science fiction novels set in the Virgin Islands, THE LESSON is not only a thought-provoking literary work, delving deeply into allegorical themes of colonialism, but also vividly draws the community of Charlotte Amali...

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Title:The Lesson
Author:Cadwell Turnbull
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Lesson Reviews

  • Lelia Nebeker

    A speculative alien invasion novel set in the Virgin Islands--and it has a large contingent of female characters who actually do things! I know that sounds like a low bar, but I really did admire the dynamic characters Turnbull created. The story is well paced, and I loved how the aliens (who inhabit humanoid bodies) were incorporated into society, or rather, how they affect society. Honestly, this book was right up my alley, and will definitely be recommending it to everyone upon its release. A

    A speculative alien invasion novel set in the Virgin Islands--and it has a large contingent of female characters who actually do things! I know that sounds like a low bar, but I really did admire the dynamic characters Turnbull created. The story is well paced, and I loved how the aliens (who inhabit humanoid bodies) were incorporated into society, or rather, how they affect society. Honestly, this book was right up my alley, and will definitely be recommending it to everyone upon its release. Add it to your TBR now!

  • Gail (The Knight Reader)

    I was so thrilled that

    was set in the Caribbean I immediately reached out to the Publishers and author to review it in advance of its June 2019 release. I was so happy that I did!

    is set in the U.S. Virgin Islands and is a story that unfolds around different islanders who live amicably among The Ynaa, Earth's newest visitors who just happen to be alien lifeforms. The story also follows one of the alien leaders, Mera, on her mission to bridge the

    I was so thrilled that

    was set in the Caribbean I immediately reached out to the Publishers and author to review it in advance of its June 2019 release. I was so happy that I did!

    is set in the U.S. Virgin Islands and is a story that unfolds around different islanders who live amicably among The Ynaa, Earth's newest visitors who just happen to be alien lifeforms. The story also follows one of the alien leaders, Mera, on her mission to bridge the gap between humans and Ynaa, as an intermediate of sorts. Unsurprisingly, there are challenges that must be overcome on both sides and this makes for an engrossing story.

    Don't let the word "Alien" fool you. This book is so much more than Sci-Fi, I am at a loss for words. The story flows, the characters are developed, and everything just fits together so nicely I just felt entranced. I joke that I wanted to skip work to finish it but the truth is

    was an addictive and fluid read, I almost tried.

    I must give credit to Turnbull for setting this story in the Caribbean. I almost feel like the Caribbean setting was designed for this story. Turnbull did not steer away from our accents, slang, history or culture and in turn I think it helped him to create

    . I am wishing for a sequel but as a standalone, it is superb ( and this is coming from a person who isn't the biggest fan of Sci-Fi). I encourage everyone to grab this book come June 2019!

    -----------------------------------------------------

    As stated previously, I received an e-ARC via Blackstone Publishing for an honest review. Many thanks to the Publisher and author for the same.

  • Sylvain Neuvel

    Cadwell Turnbull paints a stunningly intricate portrait of humanity, capturing hopes and dreams, flaws and failings with remarkable depth and texture. The Lesson is a blast to read and a meaningful exploration of the bearing of colonialism and the perils of human ambition.

  • Nicholas Smith

    My love for alien invasion novels has become a life long passion. Over the years, I’ve added many favorites to my personal bookshelf and now I will be adding another. It’s rare to pick up a debut as unique as The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull. This is a deeply emotional story of suspense about an alien race that has traveled to the US Virgin Islands with seemingly unknown intentions. As the plot slowly unfolds through the POV of multiple complex characters, Turnbull sets the stage for a revelation

    My love for alien invasion novels has become a life long passion. Over the years, I’ve added many favorites to my personal bookshelf and now I will be adding another. It’s rare to pick up a debut as unique as The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull. This is a deeply emotional story of suspense about an alien race that has traveled to the US Virgin Islands with seemingly unknown intentions. As the plot slowly unfolds through the POV of multiple complex characters, Turnbull sets the stage for a revelation and ending that not only rewards the reader but has us thinking about the story long after we turn the last page. By the time I was finished, I had no doubt this is the beginning of an epic career for Cadwell Turnbull. I anxiously await his next book.

  • BookOfCinz

    The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull is unlike anything I have ever read before and I cannot stop talking about it and I didn't want it to end.

    Set on the U.S. Virgin Islands, we meet the members of the community of Charlotte Amalie-like most Islanders, they are pretty laid back, but all living complicated lives. Things get even more complicated when one day the sky opens up and an alien ship docks close to the island. The five hundred Ynaa came in "peace" and

    The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull is unlike anything I have ever read before and I cannot stop talking about it and I didn't want it to end.

    Set on the U.S. Virgin Islands, we meet the members of the community of Charlotte Amalie-like most Islanders, they are pretty laid back, but all living complicated lives. Things get even more complicated when one day the sky opens up and an alien ship docks close to the island. The five hundred Ynaa came in "peace" and with advance technology to offer for their five year stay on the island. The Ynaa's message to the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands is that they are looking for "something", they needed time to "research" and "they would leave the planet as they found it". Yes, the Ynnas were very vague but their ask seemed reasonable at the time.

    Fast forward to a year into the invasion and tension between the Islanders and Ynaas is strong. While the Ynaas's tries to blend in by using human disguise, they are easily prone to anger, so much so, a Ynaa ripped an Islander to his death. The Ynaa's Ambassador Mera, tries to keep the peace by using Derrick a fellow Islander to help her get the message out but things are now beyond her control. The Islanders realize there are no consequences for the Ynaas action. Things spiral, quickly.

    When I say I have never read a book like this, I mean it. Cadwell is able to traverse and blend various genres together, it is hard to classify exactly what genre this book falls under. I think that is what I loved most about it. We get a bit of Sci-Fi, historical fiction and young adults. The book starts out exploring the complicated lives of the community members of Charlotte Amalie. We see a married couple coming to terms with the impending doom of their marriage and how their daughter might be affected. We meet a young man who grew up in church questioning Christianity, while wondering “what else could be out there?”

    Cadwell, took his time in The Lesson to explore the history of colonialism and what the invasion meant for an island that have a history of being invaded and taken over. We get a historical look on how the island was colonialized, and the question was posed to the reader and the members of the community, whether the Ynaa invaded or they arrived.

    If you are looking for a book that will grab you from the very beginning and won’t let go until the end, this is it. If you have never read about an alien invasion happening on an island- well this might be the only book for you to read.

    A must read!

  • Thomas Wagner

    First contact stories in science fiction have been used for decades to explore cultural and anthropological themes. More than anything, I would say SF writers use alien contact as a kind of emotional tonic, a way to relieve humanity’s existential distress at the very real likelihood we are either alone in the universe, or so far away from any other advanced, spacefaring species that contact with them will be effectively impossible before both we and the aliens become, in the natural

    First contact stories in science fiction have been used for decades to explore cultural and anthropological themes. More than anything, I would say SF writers use alien contact as a kind of emotional tonic, a way to relieve humanity’s existential distress at the very real likelihood we are either alone in the universe, or so far away from any other advanced, spacefaring species that contact with them will be effectively impossible before both we and the aliens become, in the natural course of time, extinct. First contact stories can be scary, exciting, action-packed, dramatic and serious, or satirical, and SF writers have shown remarkable invention in spinning endlessly imaginative variations on the theme.

    One of these variations involves presenting the aliens as mirrors to ourselves, and that’s what Cadwell Turnbull does in his debut novel,

    . It’s an unusual and mostly gentle story that nonetheless has a distinct apocalyptic inevitability, and though there are times Turnbull keeps some of his ideas perhaps a little too close to the vest for the story’s overall good, The Lesson is a story that should not be missed by readers who embraced such books as Emily St. John Mandel’s

    or even Arthur C. Clarke’s

    .

    It’s all about colonialism, basically.

    takes place on the island of St. Thomas in the Caribbean, Turnbull’s own birthplace, and right away this piqued my interest, as I’ve read more than enough white-America-centered stories of alien visitation and invasion to last a lifetime. We meet a handful of perfectly ordinary characters managing their daily lives in the two weeks prior to the aliens’ arrival. Jackson is a college instructor who is midlifing so hard that even he is embarrassed by what a walking cliché he’s become. His wife Aubrey responds to the general malaise of their marriage by rekindling an old flame with her coworker Alice. And their teenage daughter Patrice is heading off to Pittsburgh for college, much to the dismay of Derrick, her childhood friend and semi-serious boyfriend, who lives downstairs in the same house with his grandmother and kid sister, Lee.

    It’s all boringly normal until

  • Kim

    The first two-thirds of the book were amazing! But unfortunately towards the end of the book I was just trying to get through it.

    Mera was my favorite character—she was so complex and well thought out! I could have read more about her, her past and beyond that. Lee was another amazing character that I could have read more about! However, on the other end of the spectrum, Patrice was my least favorite and one that got on my nerves.

    There are some great moments in this book! But those are fleeting.

    The first two-thirds of the book were amazing! But unfortunately towards the end of the book I was just trying to get through it.

    Mera was my favorite character—she was so complex and well thought out! I could have read more about her, her past and beyond that. Lee was another amazing character that I could have read more about! However, on the other end of the spectrum, Patrice was my least favorite and one that got on my nerves.

    There are some great moments in this book! But those are fleeting. I question why some of the characters made the choices that they made, given the circumstances that they were in—simply seemed like a means to an end, to move the plot along.

    I had so much hope for this book! It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t what I was expecting in the end.

  • Jessica Woodbury

    An interesting new take on the alien invasion novel. Ultimately I wanted more from it, I wanted to dive deeper and learn more and build the world, so the 3 stars is mostly that.

    THE LESSON does the opposite of what a big Hollywood movie would do and that is very much a compliment. It skips pretty much entirely over the moments of first contact with aliens. Instead it sets the stage and then we jump forward several years to a kind of stasis, to examine what the world is like now. The Ynaa can look

    An interesting new take on the alien invasion novel. Ultimately I wanted more from it, I wanted to dive deeper and learn more and build the world, so the 3 stars is mostly that.

    THE LESSON does the opposite of what a big Hollywood movie would do and that is very much a compliment. It skips pretty much entirely over the moments of first contact with aliens. Instead it sets the stage and then we jump forward several years to a kind of stasis, to examine what the world is like now. The Ynaa can look human and are mostly separate, but the world has allowed them to have the run of one part of the Virgin Islands. The mostly-black islanders take the brunt of the unpredictable, mysterious, and sometimes violent nature of the Ynaa while the rest of the world benefits from their technology.

    There's a lot that's interesting here theme-wise, and while colonialism is the obvious one, my mind jumped to several different places, which is just what you want to happen in good speculative fiction. We also get multiple points of view, allowing us to see those who are fascinated by the Ynaa and those who abhor them and everything in between. It's a fun world to play around in, with characters you really care about, I just want Turnbull to go further.

    I listened to this book on audio, something I particularly enjoy doing when characters have non-US accents.

  • Jypsy

    I wasn't sure what to expect from The Lesson. Alien invasion I suppose? Regardless, I was lost from the beginning. I couldn't relate to the characters or the plot. Unfortunately, this story fell flat for me. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  • Amy Imogene Reads

    Aliens and a discussion about colonialism? Sign me UP.

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