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ABR Reviewer's Choice Award Winner
Note: Even though this is Book 2 in the series, it works just fine as a stand-alone.
This is my new favorite creepy crawlies book. Such delicious suspension and that near neurotic fake feel of something crawling on you! Hannah Stander is a very interesting character. In fact, she may be my new favorite action hero. As a consultant for the FBI and a futurist (someone who studies cutting-edge tech and what that could mean for humanity), she's been called in by her friend Agent Hollis Cooper to check out a very odd death. Dead ants litter the scene which includes one dead and disfigured human. This launches Hannah into a world of bio-engineered insects, the creepy brainchild of billionaire Einar Geirsson. He keeps his weird and potentially deadly insects on an isolated island that is part of Hawaii. Is he truly a philanthropist, as all the hype claims, or does he have a more sinister motivation? I loved that this character kept me guessing until near the end.
I loved the suspense of this book. From the beginning, I could practically taste the fear and danger my favorite characters were in. Hannah's unique upbringing gives her skills to deal with this potentially world-wide disaster that she stands on the cusp of. However, she has plenty of mixed feelings about that upbringing, her parents being Preppers and their household rather isolated from the rest of the world. While this skill set serves her well, I could see that it cost her something to call upon those reluctantly hard-earned abilities.
Now I like my bugs a lot. I have a healthy respect for them and when possible, I will save them from peril by simply putting them outside. So I reveled in the all the bug descriptions and the various kinds of insects that had cameos. I especially loved the side character Ez Choi, an entomologist and good friend to Hannah. She's got brains and snark and a deep fascination with denizens of the insect world.
As all that build up promised, the bug outbreak was full of danger and death. The insects are single-minded in their pursuit of life and it took a mastermind to engineer them. Alas, the bugs aren't the only thing Hannah has to worry about. There's plenty of human foes as well and I was mightily pleased to see that they had a variety of motivations for their actions. More than once I did worry that Hannah wouldn't make it out of this tale alive. So many pitfalls! I was on the edge of my seat for the entire second half of the book. Excellent read with a satisfying ending!
Narration: Xe Sands was such a great fit for this story. Her narration was spot on. I loved her voice for Hannah, especially when her complicated feelings towards her parents came into play. All of Sands character voices were distinct and her male voices were believable. There we no technical issues with the recording. Plenty of accents (Scandinavian, Philippino, Hawaiian, etc.) came into play in this tale and Sands pulled them all off with skill.
Audiobook was purchased for review by ABR.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog
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3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Loved this story, filled with realistic science horrors!
Swarming ants in your pants and eating your skin off, ekk!
Not recommended for nighttime light reading..
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Chuck Wendig has struck entomological gold here. Lock in and listen to this excellent scifi thriller that will make you want to pay more attention to those little critters around you. Wendig has a unique writing style in that the story is first person perspective written in third person language. Xe Sands does an excellent job reading the story and I'm now going to look for more by her thanks to discovering her voice and style with this book. I'll admit I have a large biased for stories with genetics and you throw in insects and you've got me hooked. BUT if you get too much science wrong I'll not enjoy the story. So when I say this was fun from beginning to end, know that the science presented is researched enough to make it plausible and enjoyable. As for the story, well Wendig is really good at drawing you in and taking you on a ride. I won't give away anything, because I think it's best to jump in a discover it on your own. I will say if you have read Zer0es you'll enjoy the cameos, but this book can stand all on its own for anyone who hasn't read anything by the author before.
So yes, well worth the credit and time! Enjoy!!!
The story was amazing and I will definitely read everything Chuck writes! But the narrator took me out of the story sometimes because all of the make characters with the exception of Einar had the same voice and accent. Einar only differed by the accent. But the story was gripping and distraction was temporary. Would definitely recommend!