Pod is a book that surprised me. Armed with a fairly tried-and-true premise that has been covered many times over in many other arenas — both on and off the written page — Wallenfels's book still manages to take the idea of alien invasion into an enjoyable direction, for the most part. We'll get to that later, though, as by and large this is a book worth the time it takes to point out all the things I think it does "right" as opposed to the possible one or two things I think it could have handled otherwise.
From the very first, the thing I enjoyed most about Pod and the reason i want to encourage people to give it a read, was that it was a fairly well-written book. I'm being serious here. Nine times out of ten when you find yourself picking up a book where the plot is either that aliens have arrived and are whooping our butt, or that they have already whooped our butts, and NOW we must deal with the consequences in case they decide to return for an encore — they are often poorly written.
It seems as if the authors get so excited about the great idea of the story that they simply rushed to get it on the page instead of thinking the story through in terms that will reach out and get others interested and excited about the story. The most effective way to do that, at least when it comes to yours truly, is for there to be characters I can identify with and that are developed fully enough that I can share in their emotions and struggles and, if all goes well at some point in the story, their victories.
It's not enough to have scary aliens and big explosions with lots of mayhem and death that wipes out billions and billions of people I don't know or care about. Truth be told, you can get me to all those places with a handful of characters.
That, for the main part, is what the writer does in Pod. While set in circumstances that appear to reach across the entire world, our attention is focused mainly on two locations and two small sets of characters.