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. Dangerous Love…. I’m going to be honest, the tagline for this book made me think “Did I get tricked into reading a teen romance series?” I wasn’t!
Isabel: From the moment she hears the roar of Nikolas' motorcycle, she's hooked. This new guy in town seems to understand exactly how she feels and thinks, exactly what she needs. He's someone willing to let her be what she was born to be...the wild one.
Alex: He's jealous of Isabel's new boyfriend. Worse, he fears that Nikolas is dragging Isabel deeper and deeper into danger. If Isabel's not careful, Sheriff Valenti will discover the truth about her. And if that happens, no one from Earth will be able to save her…”
-- Back Cover
Someone has been using their powers recklessly, Max, Michael and Isabel all feel it, and all deny it. The powers seemed to be focused on or around Isabel, first an opposing team’s mascot goes flying after bothering Isabel. Max, Michael and the gang confront Isabel who denies it and is visibly hurt and angered by the accusation that she would. Later on while on a date with Alex at the Miniature Golf course where she makes an impossible shot and Alex wonders if she may have used her powers subconsciously, Isabel is again hurt and angered, but later wonders could Alex be right?
There is a new boy in school, Nikolas Branson. He’s on the football team, the bad boy, owns a motorcycle, no fear or respect for the law, oh yeah he is also an alien. Everyone at school notices Nikolas, even Liz, and by using his powers to help Isabel he could have Sheriff Valenti notice all of them and expose their secret, but Nikolas doesn’t care.
After a Dreamwalk where Isabel enters a new unknown dream orb and sees a specie-shared memory of their home planet she thinks she may be sleeping herself until the dreamer, a mysterious man grabs her. It isn’t until she runs into Nikolas at school and he holds her does she realize that it was his dream she was in. But it isn’t until he brings her to their cave, and tells her that the cave was where he emerged from his pod first and dragged it with him into the desert, sort of like a safety blanket does she believe he was one of them. He was found and adopted, but was relocated to California, and only recently returned to Roswell.
Isabel falls head over heels for Nikolas. Nikolas tells her not to fear Sheriff Valenti or any human, any more than an insect because they have the power, so humans were no more than insects to them. Nikolas influences Isabel in profound ways that affect her relationships with everyone. Isabel becomes the wild one, using her powers recklessly, breaking into a bowling alley, the mall, defying her brother, Michael, Liz, Maria and Alex’s warnings.
Isabel is so enthralled by Nikolas that she turns on those closest to her. Even after Nikolas scares her by using his powers to knock out a guard at the bowling alley which raises the attention of Sheriff Valenti, and Elsevan DuPris. Nikolas then uses this power on Liz, which almost kills her, before turning it on Alex, then tries to use them to kill Michael. None of this matters to Isabel, nothing but Nikolas matters at this point. She is willing to do anything she has to, to keep him in her life, even if it means losing everyone else in it
While Isabel is taking a walk on the wild side, Michael and Maria bond more. Michael is prepping for a “new foster arrangement” and spending a lot of time at Maria’s house watching horror movies with her in her room. Max begins a new job at the local U.F.O. Museum, where we meet his boss Ray Iburg. Valenti tracks the alien to the mall where Nikolas and Isabel are having an after hours spree. Nikolas forces Isabel to use her powers to knock out a guard. When Valenti arrives Nikolas thinking Valenti is no threat toys with the Sheriff, turning his back only to be shot dead in front of Isabel. Isabel reverts to the fearful little girl she was growing up seeing Valenti as the boogie man. Max, Liz, Michael, Maria, and Alex rescue Isabel, but are caught by Valenti until a mysterious force field surrounds Valenti, freezing him in his tracks. The gang find out that they are saved by Max’s new boss Ray, who tells them that the force field will erase Valenti’s memories and that he is also an alien.
The original cover art never featured Nikolas, I know some people believe that the guy I marked as Alex was Nikolas, but the description is totally off from the model. Nikolas is described by Liz as, “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. “ Now I thought this description matched Michael from Season three, and not the preppie-looking model from the original book art.
The show never outright used Nikolas, but they did bring him into the show in a few ways. The first way is with Tess, who wasn’t beyond using her powers to seduce an Evans (Max) just as Nikolas did with Isabel. The next time was in name when they introduced the Skins and we meet Kivar’s second in command, who is in the "Skin” of a young boy named Nikolas. We also see a bit of Nikolas in Maria’s cousin Sean, who is the wild one, and sort of seduces Liz, even taking her to a bowling alley. In the book Nikolas takes Isabel to the bowling alley, breaking in after dark, and using their powers to hover/fly down the lanes. On the show Sean breaks into the alley with Liz and tells her that you can slide on the lanes in socks and feel like you’re flying. I even think that Michael in Season three was a lot like Nikolas. When Michael became the King of Antar after Max was killed, and returned, Michael didn't care about humans even implying anyone who found out should have been killed. Not to mention the physical resemblance right down to the motorcycle. Then there is the most obvious one, Kivar/Kevin who seduces Isabel/Vilandra to where she would turn on Max and Michael.
- Nikolas is introduced.
- Ray Iburg is introduced.
- Max gets a job at the UFO Museum, that is owned by Ray Iburg.
- An Alien uses their power to hurt someone.
- First hint of the first Stone of Midnight.
- Nikolas is shot and killed by Sheriff Valenti.
- Maria finds a mysterious ring.
- Ray Iburg reveals he is an alien
- 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.
- 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 was most likely for budgetary reasons.
- Night Vision - All of the aliens have the ability to see better in the dark. This ability helps them out while searching the desert for evidence of their ship, and while hiding from Sheriff Valenti. This could be an extension of a visual spectrum power that also allows them to see a person’s aura. This power was not used for the show.
- 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..
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. All of the Roswell Aliens (never named, nor is their planet) have specie-shared memories, these are common memories, like what their planet looked like etc, this also something used in the TV show.
- 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, which only intensified after he healed her. Liz always thought of Max as a friend, but finds herself seeing him differently now. Max is keeping Liz
- 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 of from ever getting attached to a family. He often spends nights at the Evans’ house, or the cave.
- 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.
- Max and Liz - While 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.
- 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.
- Michael and Maria - Michael and Maria continue to grow closer as he is getting ready for a new “Foster Situation” he turns to Maria to hang out and the two form a tight bond while watching horror movies.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 reporter from the Astral Projector 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.
- Isabel and Stacey - Stacey 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.
Roswell High: The Wild One is a great follow up to The Outsider. The Outsider was all about building up this bond between the group, and The Wild One tested those bonds. 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, The Wild One 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, while setting up some big plot points for future books. The one thing that bugged me about this book was that we never knew what happened to the family that adopted Nikolas. He was adopted and taken to California, but he dislikes humans to the point he considers them bugs, but no one ever inquired what happened to them.
While I loved the TV show, I think most fans can admit that Season two and the Kivar story in Season three wasn’t really well executed. This book though handles a lot of those themes, but executes them far better. Each chapter has you wanting more and more, and never loses sight of the fact that above all else the characters come first. I definitely recommend any fan of the show 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