Publisher: Self-published (2014)
Narrator: Robert Martinez
Length: 9 hours 42 minutes
In a small town in Iowa, life turns messy for highschool senior Jay Anderson. He is accused of a drug crime he didn’t commit. Luckily, his friend Kathy sways the jury and gets him acquitted. But more than that is going on in this small town. Pretty soon Rachel, Ryan, and Jeff are pulled into the mystery as well. It seems some sort of sickness is spreading through out their town, making people irritable and paranoid. Men in suits with an unusually large armament show up. Pretty soon, the 5 friends have to leave the town or end up in a bad way.
In this action flick, the teens take on fantastic abilities while trying to save their friends and family, and perhaps the entire nation. It’s a mix of genres, with some gene splicing going on, alien life, conspiracy theories, and a touch of Christian morals lacing through it all. Jay and Kathy get the most page time and have the most character growth in the book. Ryan and Jeff play important second fiddles as the 5 travel the USA, then to Russia, and finally the Caribbean. Rachel often became non-existent in the narrative as she had so few lines; in fact, I had completely forgotten that she had traveled with the guys until her voice reappeared near the end.
The story starts off strong, with it’s mystery asteroid, the men in suits, and Jay prosecuted on false drug charges. The plot started to drift a bit after that, the various threads spreading so thinly that I wasn’t sure where the story was going. But during the final quarter of the book, the author brings it all back home and does a good job of wrapping it up. So if you started this book and felt that you were getting a bit lost, keep going – it all makes sense at the end.
Through out the tale, the kids do some fantastical things. Granted, two of them have some unusual biological abilities, but that doesn’t give them the ability to win trials or parachute jump successfully or fly airplanes (all on the first try). So I felt certain scenes were definitely stretching my ability to part with sensible reality. I wanted to root for the kids, but I also felt they weren’t truly equipped to do some of the things they accomplished in this book. Plus, many of the adults were written as simple obstacles meant to be pushed over by these young heroes. They didn’t have to struggle too much against the social norms or government system. There you have my one real criticism about this book. So, if you have a great ability to suspend disbelief, then check this book out.
Through out the book were touches of Christian morals and beliefs. I am not Christian, and for the most part, these didn’t bother me, until the last little bit of the book. There, I felt that the author was borderline preachy at points. By that point, I was invested in the book and wanted to see how it all turned out more than I was annoyed by the Christian moral advice. If you are into Christian fiction, then you would probably enjoy this little addition to the storyline.
I felt that Kathy did a good job of rescuing one of the guys as often as she needed rescuing. I would have liked to see more female characters. We have Kathy, her friend Rachel, someone’s mom, and much later in the book a female Navy or military officer. There is a plethora of male characters.
Over all it was an entertaining listen once I suspended by disbelieve and became attached to the two main characters. I also liked the addition of a dolphin later in the story.
Narration: Robert Martinez did a really good job with this story. He had a good range in voices and accents, making it easy to keep track of characters. Also, the characters were often thinking to themselves, so Martinez made the extra effort to put those lines into an internal dialogue sound. There was also a fighter pilot scene and he made it sound like the dialogue was coming over a radio. Very good performance!
What I Liked: Fun, fast-paced action flick; Kathy makes a great female lead; plenty of plot lines that the author does a good job of tying together at the end.
What I Disliked: The kids accomplish great feats that defy my ability to suspend my disbelief; there are few female characters.