Welcome back to Roswell High! It has been eighteen years since the Pocket Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) series Roswell High (1998-200) written by Melinda Metz saw print and since then produced a ten book series and just a few installments inspired the TV series Roswell (1999-2002). While I loved the show, and thought it was awesome, it barely scratched the surface of what the books delivered. Through this series of reviews I plan to not just review the books themselves but at the same time explore the TV series in comparison, so maybe someone (Kat/Comic Uno) who is a fan of the TV show may pick up the series. Circle of Danger…. This tagline had me really interested with what happened in The Wild One, I couldn’t wait to rip into this book after that cliffhanger!
“Circle of Danger….
Maria: She hasn't told her friends about the strange glowing ring that she found. It seems to be giving her powers--special abilities that let her enter a world she's been dying to experience. Here's her chance to learn what she longs to know: how Michael feels about her.
Michael: He feels all alone on Earth and he's searching for a place to belong. He didn't count on discovering someone to care about right here in Roswell. Now he's falling for his best friend. But what he doesn't know, and Maria doesn't realize, is that she's drawing danger to them all...”
After Nikolas was killed in the mall by Sheriff Valenti in The Wild One, Isabel is left an emotional wreck. All of her friends try everything they can do to help her, but she just keeps reliving the moment Nikolas was shot. Alex is the one friend who breaks through this depression with his determination and love for Isabel he slowly brings her out of her depression. Isabel realizes that Nikolas was dangerous, careless and he made her be too, and vows to be normal and never use her powers again. She tries to get over the pain of losing Nikolas by moving on with Alex, but he realizes what she is doing and tells her it is best if they just stay friends. It isn’t until Maria and Liz accompany Isabel to the mall where she relives her and Nikolas’ wild night that she realizes that he never cared for her, and if he was alive, they probably wouldn’t be together. This revelation leads her to admit to herself and Alex that he was the one who was always there for her, and if she had to choose between him and Nikolas she would choose Alex.
Ray Iburg tells Michael and Max that he is the sole adult alien survivor of the crash. Ray explains the past to them through a memory hologram complete with emotions. Ray tells them that he and their parents were a part of a science team that were assigned to study Earth to determine if it would be suitable for colonization. If Earth was the team along with their unborn children would form the first outpost there, but they quickly discovered that humans weren’t psychologically ready to share their planet with an alien race. Ray explained that the crash in 1947 was the fault of a fugitive stowaway from their ship. The alien who Ray only referred to as "Clyde" stole a very powerful artifact, a Stone of Midnight from the rulers of their planet, the Consortium. The Stones of Midnight possessed extraordinary powers and that "Clyde" used them to kill their parents, but somehow Ray survived. "Clyde" crashed the ship on Earth, and died in the crash.
Ray feared for the safety of the kids and moved their pods to the cave, but when he went back for the fourth pod he saw that the military had found the ship, so to protect the kids he left them alone. Ray explained that he didn’t go back to get them in case someone would connect him to the crash, but he knew when they would emerge and knew Max was one of them when he read his mind. Ray explained that they had far more powers than they knew and that he would teach them how to use them. He also explains to them that their race is very adaptive, that they can change their form to fit their environment, and social surroundings. When they traveled in space they would assume the body of the Roswell Aliens, small, hairless torsos; long thin arms; large heads with huge, almond-shaped black eyes when they traveled in space. Given that Earth was an oxygen based atmosphere and the dominant species was human, their bodies adapted to be human.
Maria begins to wear the ring she found in the mall on a chain around her neck when Sassafras, her Persian cat comes in with a bloody paw. Maria goes to rub some aloe on it and she sees how a Robin in the bushes, tasted milk, felt the sun on her and the sensation of being scratched under her chin. Maria had formed a connection to Sassy as her and her friends had in the cave, and discovered she had healed the wound. At first she brushes these things off until she thinks of Liz while holding her lipstick and saw Liz at the mall. Maria believed that the crystal in the ring helped her channel her psychic ability.
Michael moved in with his new foster family The Pascals who had three other, younger foster children. The Pascals are a nice family, with a list of rules for their “Pascals Rascals” like being in bed by 10, and the door had to remain open when Maria was in Michael’s bedroom. Begins to develop feelings for Maria, which become more intense after he Dreamwalks into her dream and sees her making out with a dark-haired guy. Michael shared with Maria the thin piece of indestructible metal he believed was from his ship, and Maria shared with Michael that she was psychic. She tells him how she discovered her powers with Liz’s lipstick, and that afterward she is left in a paralyzing trance. To prove it Maria touches the metal while thinking of the ship and astral projects herself into a closed room with a guard in a grey uniform and the ship.
Michael and Maria decide they can track Valenti if Maria has something of his. Michael steals a pen from Valenti and Maria begins to use it to track Valenti, but he was just at home yelling at Kyle. Michael worried about Maria after one of her astral projections, makes her promise not to do it again unless he was there. Maria promises, but decides to do it when she see Valenti driving in the desert, she feels she is onto something and as soon as she is able to move she goes under again and sees him walking down a hall with a guard in the same uniform she saw guarding the ship.
Michael wanting to spend time with Maria sneaks out and heads over to her place where he finds her collapsed on the floor in the trance bleeding from her nose and red spots all over her. When Michael connects to Maria to heal her, he sees aliens faces “were wide at the forehead that narrowed down to pointed chins. Their mouths were gaping circles with thin earthworm-length tentacles. The tentacles waved in the air, searching, searching. They had no noses and shallow bumpy depression where their eyes should be. Those bumps were their eyes, they had dozens of them.” Michael calls Max and Isabel and they rush Maria to Ray’s where Liz and Alex meet them. Ray tells them that Michael’s description of the alien creatures he saw in Maria’s head and the read marks on her were from Bounty Hunters, a race of creatures from their planet whose bodies are designed for hunting. The people on their planet used them to hunt criminals.
When Maria woke up she explained how she was psychic, and showed everyone the ring. Isabel quickly announced that the ring belonged to Nikolas, and Ray informed them that it was one of the Stones of Midnight, the one that the stowaway had stolen, and that somehow Nikolas found it. Ray also deduced that the Consortium hired the Bounty Hunters to hunt "Clyde" for stealing it. By using it Maria unknowingly alerted them to the Stone and they were using psychic attacks to kill her. Not knowing how far they traced the Stone if they don’t kill Maria, they will destroy the whole town to ensure she is dead and the Stone is safe. The gang decide to have Max stop Maria’s heart when the aliens next attack her when she uses the power, then revive her. Michael midway through it takes the ring so he is the one who dies. While dead he fights the aliens who kill him, but he is revived by the group when they form a connection like they did in the cave.
During most of the book Max and Liz are dealing with their feelings and Max tells Liz that the kiss at the Mall meant nothing, to protect her. Liz is devastated but Maria encourages her to go out with someone else. Jerry Cifarelli is a boy who has had a crush on Liz forever, and Liz agrees to go out with him. Max gets jealous and after learning to change his appearance from Ray, he changes his features and follows them on a date. Liz notices Max’s clothes, jacket and eyes and confronts him, telling him he has no right. Later on after Maria and Michael are safe and Ray agrees to keep the Stone safe and never to use it Max tells Liz that it would be safer for her if they weren’t even friends. Liz refuses to allow that to happen reminding him that their group all of them are the reason that Michael is alive because of their connection. Just as Max realizes it and pulls Liz close to him, Max collapses.
- Isabel mourns Nikolas and bonds more with Alex
- Michael and Maria grow Closer.
- Liz dates Jerry Cifarelli.
- Ray tells Max & Michael about their parents and the crash.
- The Alien’s home world is ruled by a group called the Consortium.
- There were 4 pods when the ship crashed Max & Isabel’s, Michael’s, Nikolas, and one other that Ray was unable to get to before the Military arrived.
- The ship that crashed is being stored somewhere and Valenti is connected to it.
- Maria uses the Stone of Midnight to gain powers.
- There are a second race on the alien’s planet called the Bounty Hunters that can hunt you down across great distance using psychic attacks.
- Maria almost dies.
- Michael dies but is brought back by the group.
- Max collapses
- Stones of Midnight - The Stones of Midnight at this point we are unsure how many there are, or if they all possess the same abilities, or each one has a different set. The one that we do know of gives the alien the ability to kill from a distance, and enhances their powers. If a human uses the Stone they gain the powers of the alien that include forming connections, Molecular Manipulation, and Healing. Humans also gain a power that the aliens assumably have, astral projection. The Stones of Midnight were never used in the show, but the Healing Stones were most likely loosely based on them, as was Liz gaining powers.
- Mind Reading - All of the aliens have the ability to read someone’s mind. They can do a light superficial scan or delve deeper into memories. They do not need to make physical contact, but must be in the vicinity of the person. So far Max, Isabel or Michael have yet learn how to do this, and it is unclear if Nikolas could. The only one we have seen with this ability is Ray. Tess possessed this power on the show.
Memory Projections - All of the aliens have the ability to create a holographic image of memories to share with others. These are not just holograms as they also project the emotions of everyone from the memory. So far only Ray has been shown to use this ability. This power was never used on the show.
- Physical Transformation/Adaptation - All of the alien possess a unique physiology that allows their bodies to adapt to any ecological and sociological environment they are in. This power also allows them to alter their physical appearance. So far only Ray and Max have been shown to eb able to use this ability, with Ray being able to quickly and easily do it and Max, having just learned it takes a bit longer. You not only change your physical appearance but can also change your vocal chords. This ability is an extension of their Molecular Manipulation. On the show Nasedo possessed this ability, and the others had the potential to learn it as well, with Michael being able to change his fingerprints, and transforming a mask to appear as a face.
- Molecular Manipulation - All of the aliens have the ability to move molecules. They can nudge molecules together or further apart. They cannot change a substance into something else; they can only manipulate the existing molecules. This was how Max healed Liz after she was shot. In the show Max is seen to have the most control over this power.
- Connection - All of the aliens have the ability to form a connection to each other and to humans. By touching another person, they can 'join' with the other person. Once the connection is made, the two share the same sensations, memories, and feelings, even though they both remain in their own bodies. It is also possible to expand this to an entire group of people allowing them to form a connection with each other. While in this group connection everyone takes from each other and experience things unique to them, as a group. This power is also used when healing. On the show this power was also used mainly by Max and only in a one on one basis. They also did their version of the group connection from the pod cave in season one, episode ten - The Balance, where River Dog helped them use the
- Healing - By forming a connection and using their molecular manipulation powers all of the aliens can heal. In the show Max is seen to have the most control over this power.
- Empathy - All of the aliens have the ability to feel the emotions of other aliens. This ability is strong among each other. They can choose to tune these feelings out, but they always have this connection with each other. This power extends from their power to form connections.After the group connection both the aliens and humans share this bond, where previously it was just shared among themselves. This power was never really explored on the show.
- Auras - All of the aliens can see auras. Auras are the manifestation of energy that every individual emits. Each person's aura is completely different and has a unique color. This energy surrounds a person in a soft glowing light. As a person's emotions change, their auras change as well. Dark colors streaking a person's aura might indicate fear or unhappiness. Lighter colors might indicate joy or pleasure. When an aura turns completely black, that usually means the person has died. This power is most often seen through Max’s eyes as he uses it to read people and was how Michael knew that Max and Isabel were like him when Max gave a teacher a stone that he said reminded him of her aura. The aura colors are: Max – emerald green, Isabel – royal purple, Michael – brick red, Liz – amber, Maria – ocean blue, Alex – bright orange, Nikolas - gold, and Ray - creamy white. The show never used this power, which
- Dreamwalking - All of the aliens have the power to dreamwalk. The aliens only need two hours of sleep a night and so they often dreamwalk to pass the time. To enter the dreamscape they close their eyes, and enter a dreamlike state--that state when you are half-alseep and half-awake. Each person has a unique dream orb on this plane, each one emitting a unique melody. The aliens have the ability to call the orb to them by humming their individual melodies. From there they can choose to watch the dream through the orbs like a crystal ball or choose to enter the dream by humming louder turning the orb into a portal to the dream. If they enter the dream, they can communicate with the person and manipulate the structure of the dream. On the show this power was seen being used by Isabel, and was accessed different where Isabel had to touch a picture of the person whose dream she wanted to enter before drifting off and entering it. The show did not use the orbs, the melodies or the dream plane, which like the auras was most likely due to budgetary reasons..
- Stunning - All of the aliens possess the ability to knock someone out. This power is an extension of their Connection and Molecular Manipulation powers. The aliens have to touch someone’s head (front or back) form the connection and squeeze a vein in their brain causing the person to pass out. They have to be careful and precise or they could cause a blood clot, or more damage that could lead to the person’s death. This power was not used on the TV Show.
- Memory Wipe - All of the aliens possess the ability to wipe someone’s memories, or at least short term memories. This is achieved by enveloping a person in a white light. This power takes a lot out of the aliens, draining them, leaving them weakened. Only Ray Iburg has demonstrated this power. This power was used on the TV series, but in a different way. On the TV show they gave Tess the power of Mind Warping, which could be used to cause people to see illusions, plant false memories, or wipe memories altogether.
- Hovering - All of the aliens possess the ability to hover a few inches off the ground. This power was only used by Nikolas, but is most likely an extension of their Molecular Manipulation ability, by changing the air pressure under them. This power was never used on the show, but could be a part of their powers as Michael and others have used a force to throw people and objects around.
- Shielding - All of the aliens possess the ability to shield or block other aliens from viewing their dream orbs.
- Emotional Masking - All the aliens possess the ability to mask their emotions. They use this power by making their auras appear unchanged to other aliens so they can not read them. This power has only been used by Nikolas so far. This power was never used on the TV show.
There were other things that happened, but weren’t really “powers” but came to be through the group connection. While in their group connection they pulled from each other. While everyone could see the auras that all the aliens could see everyday, from Isabel they could hear the groups individual dream orb melody in harmony. Maria in the book and on the show is big into aromatherapy and because of her the group could smell a scent from each individual. The aliens could also feel when one of them would use their powers. They felt a crackling in the air, all their arm hair stood up, and they smelled the ozone like just after a thunderstorm.
- Liz, Maria, and Alex - Best friends Liz and Maria have known each other for most of their lives, with Alex being new to the trio.
- Liz and Max - Casual friends and lab partners. Max has always had a crush on Liz,it wasn’t until she got to see herself through his eyes when they formed their connection that she started to feel for Max in a romantic way. Max & Liz pretend to date to throw Kyle off the secret, and just as Liz professes her feelings to Max he tells her that they can’t date because he will always be in danger and didn’t want to put her in danger as well. The two remain just friends despite both having romantic feelings for each other. Max is keeping Liz at a distance for her safety telling her the kiss at the mall meant nothingbut is jealous when she goes out with Jerry.
- Max and Isabel - Twins shared an incubation pod. Max sees Isabel at her most vulnerable and serves as her protective brother.
- Michael - Best friends with Max and Isabel since they were little kids. Michael was found first and put into foster care bouncing from house to house and family to family cutting himself off from ever getting attached to a family. He often spends nights at the Evans’ house, or the cave. He has recently added Maria’s house to his crashing spots as he and her grow closer.
- Liz and Kyle - Broke up before the event of The Outsider. Kyle still wants Liz back and gets jealous about the relationship Liz and Max have formed.
- Isabel and Alex - Alex still worships Isabel, while Isabel wrestles with what her heart wants and what she thinks others will say about her being with him. Once she meets Nikolas, Isabel treats Alex like the rest of her clique. After Nikolas was killed Alex was there for Isabel and she realized that Nikolas never cared about her, and that she had real feelings for Alex, while Alex is still unsure if Isabel is over Nikolas yet.
- Michael and Maria - Michael and Maria continue to grow closer the two form a tight bond while watching horror movies. Once Michael moves in with the Pascals, Maria hels him babysit. Michael starts to see Maria as more than “cute” after he Dreamwalks into her dream one night and sees her making out with a dark haired man. Maria feels the same way about Michael at first neither vocalize their feelings, but Michael does show her with a kiss, and when they were both in danger they do show their feelings.
- Michael and Alex - The two share a unique sense of humor among their group that feeds off each other. This bromance grew after the group connection. The two are also the overprotective ones of the group who tend to act on impulse.
- Nikolas Branson - Dark hair that fell to his shoulders, and light brown eyes. His high cheekbones and his nose, which had been broken a few times, gave his face a severe look. At least until you noticed his lips, which were full and sensual. Had an intense brief relationship with Isabel. Thought of humans as insects. Killed by Sheriff Valenti.
- Isabel and Nikolas - Nikolas starts helping Isabel from a distance using his powers, but Isabel is still into Alex until she happens upon Nikolas’ dream orb. After her dreamwalk she accepts a bet from Stacey to see who can get him first. Once Nikolas holds her like he did in his dream, Isabel falls head over heels for him. Isabel breaks all of her dating rules, falling hopelessly for Nikolas giving up all power and doing anything he says. She is so into him that no other relationship but theirs matters to her. Isabel mourns Nikolas fearing to use her powers but sees their relationship for what it was after spending time with Alex and revisiting the mall where Nikolas was killed with Liz and Maria.
- Sheriff Valenti and The Teens - Sheriff Valenti works for a government organization named Project Clean Slate that hunts and captures aliens. Valenti is no where near the sympathetic and apathetic man from the show, this Valenti is heartless and is a by any means necessary type.
- Elsevan DuPris - The local tabloid report seems to be fixated on the teens and somehow has connected them to all the alien-related events in town, but has not said such to them. Finds any reason to speak to the teens.
- Isabel and Stacey - Stacey Scheinin is the Cheerleader Squad Captain,and jealous of Isabel. The two girls would be frenemies if either one pretended to actually like the other. The squad is divided between the girls who wanted to be like Stacey and those who couldn’t stand her.
- Isabel and Tish - Tish is a human, and cheerleader with Isabel, who like Isabel can’t stand the captain of the Squad Stacey. Stacey is Isabel’s best friend, maybe only real friend outside of the main group.
- The Pascals - Michael’s new foster family. Mr & Mrs Pascal and their three other foster children: Dylan a 13-year old boy, Amanda a 5-year old girl who calls a baseball glove her Kimbie. Sarah a baby girl. Michael starts to let his guard down, and begins to feel a part of this family, even bonding with Dylan as he and Maria show him how to date.
Roswell High: The Seeker is a great follow up to The Outsider, and The Wild One. The Outsider was all about building up this bond between the group, the Wild One tested those bonds, and The Seeker, really delves into the emotions. This book is a bit slow at times, really building up the relationship of Michael and Maria, as someone who wanted more Michael and Maria in the show, I really appreciated this time devoted here. We also really delve into the emotional healing of Isabel, I loved how Metz shows us how she is processing her pain throughout the book. The last few chapters get real intense real fast and I found myself even with this new reading flipping through them, devouring them, to find out what happens next. Metz really brings these characters to life, and distributes the story equally. The one big fault with the show is that it was largely about Max and Liz with the rest of them playing as their co-stars. Metz really allows us to form these connections to each teen.
Ray is nothing like Nasedo. Nasedo was a lot like Nikolas and didn’t think much of humans, but Ray seems to really genuinely enjoy them. Ray is also far more nurturing, almost like that cool Uncle. The Healing Stones from the show are loosely based on the Stones of Midnight. I also think giving Liz powers were also drawn from this book and Maria gaining powers through the Stone. The Healing Stones were used to save Michael on the show in a similar way that the Stone of Midnight did in the book, by the group coming together and forming a connection.
I really love how Metz explores each character and the relationships, it allows them to grow, and become more clear to the reader. Like The Outsider, and The Wild One, The Seeker perfectly blends the Sci-Fi themes with that of the teen drama. This book really does offer a lot of insight into the characters, especially Isabel, Michael and Maria while setting up some big plot points for future books, like the fourth pod.
I definitely recommend any fan of the show and anyone who enjoys great character development and deep emotion stories with true sci-fi themes to read this book.
If you want to know my thoughts along with my Media Madness co-host Kat (Comic Uno) thoughts? Check out our Live Commentary on the first and last episode now!
- Media Madness Vidcast 120 - Roswell Commentary S1 E1 & S3 E18
- Roswell High: The Outsider Book 1 Review
- Roswell High: The Wild One Book 2 Review