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I'm going to add a disclaimer to this review. I LOVE Medical Thrillers/Bio-Thrillers. I've taken a liking to them ever since reading Michael Crichton as a kid, and then Richard Preston as a teenager. My fiction and non-fiction reading trajectory was paved with Medical Thrillers. Because of this, I was genuinely worried that one of my favorite authors was going to let me down by writing a book about a potential outbreak and not do his research. I have never been happier to be wrong in my life. Akart was able to write a book that is both utterly terrifying and incredibly enjoyable at the same time. I didn't even think that was a possibility.
With my disclaimer at the beginning, if you're not a bio-thriller or medical thriller fan (Robin Cook, Richard Preston, Michael Crichton, etc), you could still enjoy this book. This book, in particular, didn't go too "sciencey" making it unapproachable for the average reader (or even just an Akart fan from his other two series). It's a thriller where one of the main worries is a contagious and incredibly deadly disease. So it's action/thriller first and medical/bio second.
But, knowing that Akart was writing this series had me waiting with bated breath until it was released on audio. Then, I found out that he was going to use a dual narration for it. My excitement level (which was already high) skyrocketed. Usually, when that happens, the book is just okay, or average since I want it to be so good, I'm usually harder on it. But, as I said above -- I shouldn't have doubted Akart, he absolutely knocked this book out of the park.
Pandemic: Beginnings is a brilliant book that combines basically every aspect of a good thriller with great main characters and throws it into a washing machine with terrorism, bio-weapons, and diseases. Turns it on "heavy soiled" and lets it go. What comes out is a perfect mixture of all the best aspects of what I mentioned above and the ability to scare the heck out of a reader. Seriously, shake someone's hand after reading this... I dare you.
"Mac" the doctor in this was a great main character who is both powerful and smart. A great combination for a female protagonist. She was also really funny and a few time when I wasn't scared for my life, Mac had me cracking up with the way that she thought of or approached things.
Akart, who didn't set out to be a Medical Thriller author has written a book that will stick with me for a long time. Easily comparable to Crichton, Cook, and Preston as one of my top bio-thriller books I've ever read. And the best part is that he's just getting started. I hope that what follows in this series will follow some of the same blueprints that he's already laid out in Beginnings.
The dual narration was interesting. I've heard this done well and terribly. This was right in the middle. In the beginning, I was worried because the female narration parts are only for talking parts. Mac's internal thoughts were still narrated by Farrell. At first, this really bugged me. It just didn't seem to make any sense why it would work that way, but as I continued in the book and listening to it intently, I noticed that it didn't bother me anymore. It made a little more sense. Farrell is the main narrator who will give most of the talking parts, internal monologues, and "stage direction" (scene setting and stuff like this) while Adams (who has an AWESOME voice) will voice any female directly spoken parts. It worked better than I first thought it would and honestly it made this book fly by.
I received a free copy of this book. It has not affected my review of my opinion.
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21 of 24 people found this review helpful
A terrific novel on the very real possibility of bio terrorism.
The book is very well written and somewhat reminds me of "The Hot Zone" regarding the Ebola and communicable diseases.
Bobby Akart does a terrific job with the book. The dual narrators took me a little while to get used to... but soon it flowed exceptionally well and I believe it added a new layer of depth to the book, and allowed for excellent character development.
I highly recommend "The Beginnings". Now on to "The Innocents"....
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Quite apart from being a really well-balanced book, and very relevant today, it appears to be very well researched. I kept checking on Google to find out if certain bits of information were true. Yes, they were. I normally would be very disappointed to find that the book is not self-standing, however, I bought it as the first in a trilogy and immediately bought the followup. Can't wait to continue. I feel it deserves the 5-star rating all round. Loved the narrators and the performance.
Great book, great story, great performance. Can’t wait for Book number 2. I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who enjoy pandemic literature.