REVIEW: The Burn Zone (Hann #1) by James K. Decker


Plagued by overpopulation, disease, and starvation, humanity was headed for extinction—until an alien race called the haan arrived. And then the real trouble began.

It’s been a rough day for Sam Shao. As part of a program that requires humans to act as surrogates to haan infants, Sam has been genetically enhanced to bond with them. So when three soldiers invade her apartment and arrest her guardian for smuggling a dangerous weapon into the country, Sam can sense that something isn’t right. One of his abductors is a haan masquerading as a human, and the supposedly fragile haan seems to be anything but.

Racing through the city slums, trying to stay one step ahead of the mysterious haan soldier, Sam tries to find the man who, in her twenty years, has been the only father she’s ever known. Could he truly have done what he is accused of? Or did he witness something both human and haan would kill to keep hidden? The only thing certain is that the weapon is real—and lost now somewhere in a city of millions.

Fighting the clock, Sam finds an ally in Nix, a haan envoy devoted to coexisting with humans, or so it seems. But what she really needs are answers. Fast. Or else everything she knows—and everyone she loves—will burn.


This has been the first novel by James K Decker that I’ve read, and I was pleasantly surprised! The idea of a novel about aliens living with people in a futuristic world seems like a very cliché idea, which is why I was skeptical about the overall book. But after getting into the first chapter, I realized that this was different. This novel instantly hooks you and reels you in with nonstop action right from chapter one all the way through to the last page.

The story is written in first person by the main character, Sam Shao, who is a twenty year old orphan living with her adopted father in a world where food is scarce and everyone is struggling to get by. Sam is part of a surrogate program where she raises hann (the alien race that lives among people) infants. This program promises her food as well as gives her a special mental connection to the hann race. When close to hann, Sam can feel their presence and emotions.
One day Sam’s guardian, Dragan, is violently arrested by the military – including a hann disguised as a soldier. This story follows Sam, Vamp, and Nix as they try and rescue Dragan, while discovering dangerous secrets about the hann.
Escalating very quickly, Sam realized that her race is on the verge of extinction and she may be the only person able to save them.

What I absolutely loved about this book is that right when you think you have it figured out, Decker throws you a curve ball and takes the story in a different direction. The theme of the story: Things aren’t always what they seem.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars


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