Narrator: George Newbern
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (2016)
Length: 8 hours 46 minutes
Series: Book 1 The Hatching
From the cover and title, I’m sure you can guess this story involves some sort of insect. Responsible world leaders have ensured their countries are prepped for a variety of events: plague, nuclear war, asteroid collision, etc. Yet insect infestation somehow missed the top 10 list. Incidents of voracious bugs start popping up across the globe: Peru, China, USA, India, etc. Get ready to be creeped out by the creepy crawlies!
This was a pretty entertaining creature feature. The tension starts slowly. Perhaps this really is just a touristy walk through the Peruvian jungles. Maybe the Chinese really did have a training accident that involved a small nuclear detonation. Those odd shimmers beneath the seismic lab in India? Probably nothing. The action picks up with a private airplane crash and an entomologist, Melanie, examining an egg sac that is hundreds of years old. US President Stephanie Pilgrim will be tested as few presidents have. The bugs have hit US soil and it’s only a matter of time before the crunching sounds of chewing insects cause the White House staff to puke.
This book has a pretty large cast and more and more characters kept being added in even late into the book. Now some are simply there to die horribly, but some appear to be keepers. On one hand, I really enjoyed that this was a world-wide catastrophe and that meant characters from a variety of nations, both men and women. A diverse cast usually means an awesome cast. On the other hand, we don’t get to spend a whole lot of time with any one character. I wanted to get attached to some characters, but by even the end of the book, I was only half way there. Mike Rich, FBI agent that reports to the Minneapolis event, was one of my favorite characters. He has this back story that involves a daughter (Annie) and his divorced wife (Fannie) plus he has this really tough job. Then I also like Melanie, and not just because we both share a love bugs. She’s in her 40s, has kept both mind and body in shape, and owns that lab in the sense that she is definitely the boss. Even though we get a lot less of her, I also liked Kim, who is in the marines and has to make some tough choices in this story.
The bugs were awesome! There’s this sorta maybe tie in with the Nazca lines in Peru, a small mind in the middle of nowhere China, and the underground monitoring area beneath the seismic lab in India. The source of these bugs is a bit of a mystery, especially since they popped up in multiple countries around the same time. Then I also felt that people reacted realistically. There’s the initial disbelief, even with videos (perhaps an intricate hoax?). Then a few people get their hands on some actual insects and things start to go from fascinating for bug people to potential security issue for the nation. As the story bounces around the various characters, we get to see how scientists, preppers, politicians, military personnel, parents, one old coon dog, and murder mystery writers react.
As things spiral down, some questions are answered and some are not, a few tiny things are resolved, and several big picture things are not. The book does end on a bit of a cliff hanger. I am very much hoping that Book 2 will be out in audio soon.
I received a copy at no cost from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Narration: George Newbern has quite a good voice to listen to. He especially did a great job with imbuing the character voices with emotions. I like his sometimes coldly analytical Melanie, his gruff Scottish mystery writer, and his young Annie, daughter of FBI agent Mike Rich. Since this is a world-wide cast, we had characters from all over the world. Sometimes Newbern did a national accent and sometimes he chose not to. I think the performance would have been just a touch better if he had gone the extra mile with the national accents. Still, it was a pretty good performance and I hope he narrates Book 2.
What I Liked: The bugs!; the initial reaction by people; it’s a global issue; Mike Rich and his initial discovery of one of the insects; Melanie and all her buggy info bits; the preppers and their reaction to the event; a diverse cast of characters; definitely ready for Book 2.
What I Disliked: Since it is such a large cast, I didn’t get to spend much time with any one character; it is a bit of a cliff hanger.
What Others Think: