If this has been an original novel, and the movie came from it, then it would have been a five star easy. Since it's a novelization of an existing movie that's superior, it gets a three star rating for different reasons.
First, the story most of us know and love is great written down. Reading it, I envisioned the actors in their roles, the score powerfully pushing through the action and run scenes, the beautiful, uncomfortable design of the ship and aliens. Written down it lost a little impact, especially in some of the well-constructed action scenes. Some of the tense nail-grinding was removed from the scene where they first discovered the aliens, a few deaths lost their epic showdown appeal, and the ending fights with the queen seemed shortened and with less oomph. On the other hand, having it written down, the author was free to extend some musing dialogue, pausing for thought about the alien and the strategies they needed to come up with for proper combat.
I took one star away from some of my favorite parts of movie being glossed over in the book. Obviously the author didn't agree on dragging out the same scenes I would. I had to remove another star because it was censored. I can get taking out some of the language and the reader wouldn't notice, but to remove all of it? Even the epic one-liner showdowner from Ripley from the queen was removed. That's the most quotable line from the movie! It has been replaced with:
"Get away from her, you!"
Wow, really? Playing it safe in the novelization from of Aliens is not cool, no matter what universe you're in.
Overall it's enjoyable, especially for fans of the series, and I loved Foster's writing style overall. He's readable and sucks you into the story, but some of it fell apart after the first few chapters.
“Nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."