Goodreads ratings
3.71 / 5

"Alive" Summary

By Scott Sigler

young adult | 345 pages | Published in 2015

I open my eyes to darkness. Total darkness. I hear my own breathing, but nothing else. I lift my head…it thumps against something solid and unmoving. There is a board right in front of my face. No, not a board…a lid.A teenage girl awakens to find herself trapped in a coffin. She has no idea who she is, where she is, or how she got there. Fighting her way free brings little relief—she discovers only a room lined with caskets and a handful of equally mystified survivors. Beyond their room lies a corridor filled with bones and dust, but no people…and no answers.She knows only one thing about herself—her name, M. Savage, which was engraved on the foot of her coffin—yet she finds herself in charge. She is not the biggest among them, or the boldest, but for some reason the others trust her. Now, if they’re to have any chance, she must get them to trust one another.Whatever the truth is, she is determined to find it and confront it. If she has to lead, she will make sure they survive. Maybe there's a way out, a rational explanation, and a fighting chance against the dangers to come. Or maybe a reality they cannot comprehend lies just beyond the next turn.


Estimated read time: 6 min read

One Sentence Summary

A group of football players must use their wits and courage to survive after their plane crashes in the Andes mountains.


"Alive" by Scott Sigler is a gripping young adult science fiction novel that follows the story of a group of young individuals who wake up in a confined space with no memory of who they are or how they got there. As the story unravels, they must navigate their way through a series of challenges and revelations to uncover the truth about their existence and the world they live in.

Brief Synopsis

The story of "Alive" takes place in a mysterious and claustrophobic setting where the main character, Em, awakens in a confined space with no recollection of her past. She is accompanied by a group of young individuals who are equally disoriented and confused. As they struggle to understand their situation, they discover that they are trapped in a space known as the Maw, a dark and foreboding environment with no apparent means of escape. As they embark on a journey to find a way out, they encounter numerous challenges and revelations that force them to question their reality and their purpose.

Plot Overview and Setting

The novel opens with Em awakening in a coffin-like enclosure, unsure of how she got there or who she is. She soon discovers that she is not alone, as there are several other individuals in similar predicaments. Together, they navigate the confining corridors of the Maw, attempting to escape and make sense of their situation.

The Maw itself is a dark and oppressive environment, with its labyrinthine corridors and ominous atmosphere adding to the sense of isolation and mystery. As the characters explore their surroundings, they uncover strange symbols and markings that hint at a larger, more enigmatic purpose behind their confinement.

Main Characters

The novel features several main characters, each with their own unique personalities and traits.

EmThe protagonist, who demonstrates resilience and leadership qualities as she navigates the challenges of the Maw.
BishopA fellow captive who becomes a key ally to Em, providing support and encouragement throughout their journey.
O’MalleyA member of the group who exhibits skepticism and caution, often questioning the motives of their captors.
SpingateAnother captive who demonstrates resourcefulness and problem-solving skills in the face of adversity.

Story Points Over Chapters

Chapter 1-5

  • Em wakes up in a dark and enclosed space, confused and disoriented.
  • She discovers that she is not alone, as there are others in similar circumstances.
  • The group begins to explore their surroundings, uncovering strange symbols and markings that hint at a larger, more enigmatic purpose behind their confinement.

Chapter 6-10

  • The characters encounter various challenges and obstacles as they attempt to find a way out of the Maw.
  • Em takes on a leadership role, guiding the group through the dark and treacherous corridors.
  • Tensions rise among the group as they grapple with their fear and uncertainty.

Chapter 11-15

  • Em and her companions make a startling discovery that sheds light on the true nature of their existence.
  • They are confronted with a series of shocking revelations that challenge their understanding of reality.
  • The group must band together to confront the forces that seek to keep them confined and controlled.

Chapter 16-20

  • The characters face escalating dangers and threats as they strive to break free from their captivity.
  • Em demonstrates courage and determination in the face of overwhelming odds.
  • The group's bonds are tested as they come to terms with the harsh truths they uncover.

Main Events

  1. Awakening in the Maw: The characters wake up in the confining and mysterious environment of the Maw, setting the stage for their journey of self-discovery and survival.
  2. Uncovering the Truth: Through their exploration and investigation, the group uncovers clues and revelations that challenge their understanding of their situation and the world around them.
  3. Confronting Adversity: The characters face numerous obstacles and dangers as they strive to escape from the Maw and resist the forces that seek to control them.
  4. Embracing Resilience and Unity: Throughout their ordeal, the characters demonstrate resilience and unity, forging bonds and supporting each other in their quest for freedom.

Themes and Insights

Identity and Self-Discovery

The novel delves into the themes of identity and self-discovery, as the characters grapple with their lost memories and uncertain origins. Their journey through the Maw becomes a metaphor for the process of uncovering one's true self and purpose.

Power and Control

The story explores the dynamics of power and control, as the characters confront external forces that seek to manipulate and confine them. It raises questions about autonomy and agency in the face of oppressive authority.

Resilience and Unity

Amidst the challenges and dangers they face, the characters demonstrate resilience and unity, highlighting the strength that can be found in solidarity and cooperation. The novel emphasizes the importance of standing together in the face of adversity.

Reader's Takeaway

"Alive" offers readers a captivating and suspenseful narrative that keeps them engaged from start to finish. The exploration of identity, resilience, and the pursuit of freedom provides thought-provoking insights that resonate with readers of all ages. The gripping plot and well-developed characters make for an immersive and compelling reading experience.


"Alive" by Scott Sigler is a compelling and thought-provoking science fiction novel that combines mystery, suspense, and existential themes to create a captivating narrative. Through its engaging plot, well-defined characters, and exploration of profound themes, the novel offers readers an enthralling journey of self-discovery, resilience, and the enduring human spirit.

Alive FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'Alive' by Scott Sigler?

    Alive is a science fiction novel that combines elements of mystery, thriller, and dystopian fiction.

  2. Can you provide a brief summary of 'Alive'?

    Sure! 'Alive' follows the story of a young girl named Em who wakes up in a confined space with no memory of how she got there. She soon discovers that she is not alone and must navigate a dangerous and mysterious world to uncover the truth about her existence.

  3. Who is the author of 'Alive'?

    The author of 'Alive' is Scott Sigler, a well-known writer of science fiction and horror novels.

  4. Is 'Alive' part of a series?

    Yes, 'Alive' is the first book in the Generations Trilogy, followed by 'Alight' and 'Alight.'

  5. What age group is 'Alive' suitable for?

    Although 'Alive' is categorized as young adult fiction, it is suitable for readers of various ages, especially those who enjoy dystopian and science fiction themes.