It Looks Like Us

It Looks Like Us by Alison Ames
Alison Ames
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Jan 5, 2023

It Looks Like Us by Alison Ames is a modern retelling of the horror
classic, The Thing, yet it still manages to feel as fresh and biting as
its predecessors. The story, similar to the 1982 film, takes place in the
Antarctic and is centered around a research team who come in contact with
a shapeshifting, otherworldly monster. A group consisting of five
teenagers and two research guides was sent there to research climate
change, but a week later, the facility is in flames and two police
officers are taking the testimony of Riley Kowalski, a severely
traumatized teenager who survived the nightmares of the expedition. The
book balances between two timelines as Riley tells the police officers of
what she witnessed and overcame inside the research compound.

One of the key strengths that It Looks Like Us possesses is its
protagonist, Riley Kowalski. A heroine that resembles past iconic “final
girls” such as Ellen Ripley of Alien or Laurie Strode of Halloween fame,
Riley is a compelling narrator with a clear progression throughout the
book. She and the other side characters are a main aspect of what make
this book such an emotional and captivating experience, as well as the
writing itself, which creates a claustrophobic, tense portrayal of the
events that play out in the frozen tundra.

However, I think a main stumble
of the book is the lack of mystery in the creature itself. A clear
component of what makes the 1982 film and related works so memorable is
the element of suspense surrounding who the creature is imitating, but
instead, It Looks Like Us brushes the mystery of who might be infected
aside and never attempts to enhance the tension by creating unease between
the survivors, which I think would have added another element to this
already strong book. When I first began reading this book, I was concerned
that it would be a shot-by-shot rehashing of previous versions of the same
story, but was pleasantly surprised by additions that added new surprises
to the narrative. One of these welcome additions was the added character
of Anton Rusk, a tech billionaire who funded the trip to the Antarctic, as
he played off the plot in a new and intriguing way. Overall, I think this
book is a solid four-star read, and I would also recommend watching Jon
Carpenter’s The Thing to fans of this book.


Written by
Alice Summers

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