Tag Archives: amreading

Audio Book Review: Sick by Brett Battles

Sick by Brett Battles, Read by MacLeod Andrews

4 of 5 stars

*I received a free copy of this audio book for review from Audiobookreview.com*

This was my first Brett Battles book and I must admit, I’m a bit upset I haven’t tried his work before. I had no idea what to expect outside of the description. I am a sucker for a good techno thriller or post-apocalyptic story so I assumed I would enjoy it and plugged in my earbuds.
Captain Daniel Ash and his family had only lived here for just a few months when he woke from a nightmare to find his daughter burning hot, and though his son seemed fine, his wife was dead in bed. They were separated, put into containment trucks, and hauled off to a secure facility. After hours of being held Ash is informed by Dr. Littlefield that his daughter and son had fallen to the illness, but that he was immune to the virus.

The Virus being KV27A, an airborne virus that can seep into the eyes, nose, mouth, or any other open wound or orifice. Its fatality rate nearly 100%. Due to the fact that Captain Ash seems to show immunity, Dr. Littlefield plans to kill Ash and examine his body in hopes to make a vaccine. After eight weeks in the cell, Daniel Ash finds himself escaping, with the help of some new friends, from an exploding building. Though they saved his life, the strangers had Daniel drugged and tied down.

Upon waking he offered food and no longer restrained. He was introduced to a man named Matt Hamilton who runs an underground militia known as The Ranch. Matt informed him that his bloodline carried the immunity and that his children were, in fact, alive. He was also told the Virus was man-made and the name of the person responsible for the virus, and his wife’s fate, Nathaniel Karp. Doctor Karp is part of a secret government agency who has a extreme, and insane idea to “save” the human race.

Meanwhile, the virus spread farther than expected due to an oversight by the cleanup team causing the quarantine zone to expand and infect a group of students on their way home. Battles goes on to introduce you to a few characters: Paul, a teenager who tries to escape and witness something horrible instead. Tamara, a reporter trying to make her career but makes enemies instead, as well as Martina and Ben, who are among the group of stranded students. All interesting characters who seemingly have a larger role in the following books, which are already added to my “to-read” list.

This intriguing thriller is brought to life my MacLeod Andrews, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite narrators. He is actually what drew me to this book in the first place. After hearing him do STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson, I was hooked. This was no different than his other performances. If anything, he’s gotten even better and I will continue to follow him.

All in all this was a very engrossing story. Battles makes you care about the characters and unravels the tale at a great pace. There wasn’t constant action, nor was there a lot of dull dialogue. I’m extremely anxious to try more of his work, in and outside of the Project Eden series. I would suggest this techno-thriller to anyone who likes the Wayward Pines or Joe Ledger series.


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War Games meets Ender’s Game

Armada by Ernest Cline; Performed bye Wil Wheaton

ARMADA is Cline’s second novel, the first being READY PLAYER ONE, which I read about a year ago and loved. His follow up is extracted from the same vein, pop culture; emphasizing on video games and SciFi movies. I had so much fun listening to RPO, I wanted another one. I was pining for a new Ernie Cline novel. I picked it up on day one, listening before it even completed downloading.

Zack Lightman is sitting in his high school class, when he looks out the window and sees a UFO. What makes it worse, it is the same spaceship from Armada, the game he and millions of others play. –Armada is an online flight simulator in which you work for the Earth Defense Alliance (EDA) controlling combat drones remotely while battling evil aliens hellbent on destroying humankind. Prior to that, the same company released a game called Terra Firma; in that game, you control remote mechs and defend the planet from the ground. Zack thinks he may be suffering from schizophrenia, until the next day when an EDA transport ship lands on his school lawn. A familiar face steps out and calls for Zack. Apparently, the EDA is real, and due to his top 10 ranking in Armada, he’s being recruited! Zack goes on to meet some new friends, fight alongside some old ones, and discover a part if his past he thought long buried.

This has received some criticism for being a rip off of THE LAST STARSHIP. I haven’t seen the movie, so those criticisms fell on deaf ears. I’m a gamer, I’m a sci-fi and fantasy geek, and I love comic books; I think it’s safe to say this book is aimed at people like me. The pop culture references, I feel, are a big part of what makes this book so much fun. They tug at little strings of nostalgia, or they remind you of a movie you love but haven’t seen in awhile. However, it is a double edged sword; the same one liner Zack spits out that makes you think of your favorite scene from Lord of the Rings, also takes you out of the story you’re reading, it can be distracting. The pace of the novel was really good, there wasn’t a huge chapter filled with an info dump (well, maybe there was and I missed it because I was enjoying the story). and the dialogue was a lot of fun. The plot was slightly predictable with respect to how the journey would unfold. It follows a very typical coming of age layout — Young man has power thrust upon him, he struggles with new responsibilities, he charms the girl, he endures loss and overcomes, and ultimately, he becomes the hero. — however, I can honestly say the ending surprised me, I did not see it coming. That coupled with some really great writing, leaves me wanting more. Ernie has major writing chops, that’s obvious. I was completely engrossed in both this and RPO, from beginning to end.

This is a fun, light read brought to life by Wil Wheaton. As usual, he delivered a great performance. He is easy to understand, most of his voices are distinguishable, there’s never any background noise, and he has a way with Mr. Cline’s dialogue that just meshes well. I haven’t heard a Wheaton book I considered poorly read; he is always good.

Overall I loved it, I recommend it, and I will be listening to it again. I suggest you do the same, sir or madam who is reading this review, because if you were not interested in these themes mentioned above, you probably would not have made it this far. Go, enjoy some interstellar dogfights and a shared love of geekery goodness!


There is another really good review of Armada at Audiobookreviewer.com

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Review: The End Has Come and Gone

The End Has Come and Gone
The End Has Come and Gone by Mark Tufo

Orignally posted to Audiobookreviewer.com

I love what Mark Tufo has created with this series. During the fallout of the Zombie Apocalypse, caused by tainted H1N1 vaccinations, Mike Talbot and his family battle against humans, Vampires, and of course Zombies. Despite having made a mortal enemy of an ever powerful vampire named Eliza, Mike fights his way to his family. He makes it but his adopted son Tommy is abducted by Eliza, it turns out they are siblings. His best friend, Paul, and a few others split off to find their own families.

Mike, Justin, Travis, Tracy, and Gary decide to set out and find Tommy. Two days before they leave Mike’s older brother, Ron, shows him a shoe box with some thing his grandparents left them. Included in that shoe box is a mysterious locket with a picture of Eliza. Even though nothing happens when Ron holds, every time Mike touches the locket it feels ice cold and pricks his finger, drawing blood. Where did this locket come from and why did his grandparents have it?

Shortly after heading out from the Talbot household, the group come across a small group of children. After a debate and a heartfelt goodbye, Tracy decides to take the children back to Ron’s house. Along the way, Tracy runs into a some familiar faces and a couple close calls. Meanwhile, Paul and a group of survivors get trapped on the roof of a furniture store surrounded by zombies. Their only hope of rescue was Mike Talbot, who somehow got an odd message to Marta, one of Paul’s group.

Along the way, Team Talbot comes across three more survivors that join their ranks, later regrouping with some people close them. Now back to a full roster, save Tommy, Mike and the others make it the furniture store to learn that Tommy and Eliza are both there. Upon making it to the roof with his friends, Mike Talbot discovers there’s only one way to save everyone’s life. Can he make the sacrifice and save everyone, or was the price too high for even him?

This is by far my favorite ZF story so far. It’s full of twists and surprises, dark humor only friends can share, and a lot of heart. There was plenty of feeling in this story and the narrator made it even more engrossing. Sean Runnette IS Mike Talbot, period. He brings the dialogue to life in such a way that becomes the characters. His reading, mixed with Tufo’s dark yet hilarious interactions and inner monologues, makes you feel like your there with them, part of the family. I often found myself having to pause the book just so I can pay attention to work, or more accurately, stopping work until a climactic scene passes. (Please don’t tell my boss). Completely addictive and engrossing. I’m going back for more.

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