Where I Got It: The library.
Who I Recommend This To: Biologists, action junkies, folks fascinated by marine life & evolution.
Narrator: Robin Atkin Downes
Publisher: Books on Tape (2009)
Length: 12 hours 22 minutes
In the world of real life TV, there is Sea Life, a show about a group of marine biologists traveling the world’s oceans in search of fascinating oceanic life. Or rather, a few paid actors with ripped abs to create drama among the few scientists on board. Nell Duckworth auditioned for the show for one simple little reason: She is fascinated with Hender’s Isle, a small island deep in the Pacific captured in a handful of historical logs. Providence brings Sea Life to the isle with a mysterious emergency beacon. Then the shit gets real.
If you have a bend towards biology and odd life forms, this book was an action feast of what isolated evolution might produce over a few million years. I absolutely loved the flora and fauna the author came up with. The deadly and weird collided with pincers and shells and toxins on Hender’s Ilse. Watching the fragile humans discover this niche of life, and fall prey to it, was immensely entertaining.
The sub plot of the reality TV show threading through the story was also interesting. You have folks who are merely interesting in ratings and staying employed in the entertainment business. These folks often collided with the scientists, leading to various publicity stunts that didn’t end as planned *cue evil laughter from this reader*.
While a little odd, Warren Fahy brought in some characters later in the book, such as the dueling scientists Jeffery Benswanger (careful & precise) and Thatcher Redman (loose & seeking sound bites). Each of these men has a different take on what little has been broadcast by Sea Life concerning Hender’s Ilse and both are in for surprises. I enjoyed the conflict between these two, which added to the overall tension.
While I found Nell a strong, thoughtful, intelligent main female character, I also found her too nice. Yes, that’s right: too nice. She didn’t have a negative thought in her head. All the other characters found her nice too. This tended to make her a bit one dimensional. Never once was I concerned she wouldn’t make it out alive – because she was the only lead female and because she was simply too nice to kill off.
Narration: The narrator, Robin Atkin Downes, did an excellent job, providing clear, distinct voices for both men and women. The narrator was even challenged later to make some sounds unique to the critters of Hender’s Ilse.
What I Liked: The science stuff; awesome deadly critters taking out humans in unique ways; the conflict between leading scientists; the reality TV show aspect was more entertaining than I expected; the ending was satisfying.
What I Disliked: Few female characters with only 1 lead female; Nell was too nice all the time; I had a little trouble suspending my disbelief concerning the island critters’ weaknesses.