Beacon 23: The Complete Novel

  • by Hugh Howey
  • Narrated by Ryan McCarthy
  • 6 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This work contains the five Beacon 23 stories, originally released in serialized form.
For centuries, men and women have manned lighthouses to ensure the safe passage of ships. It's a lonely job, and a thankless one for the most part - until something goes wrong, until a ship is in distress.
In the 23rd century, this job has moved into outer space. A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at many times the speed of light. These beacons are built to be robust. They never break down. They never fail.
At least, they aren't supposed to.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good, but not great.

Well, this is my second foray into Howey's writing. The first, of course, being the Silo series. I actually liked this book more. In fact a great deal more. It was more nuanced (for the vast majority of it), more... mature and developed.

While a compilation of 5 shorter stories, it wasn't as repetitive as other compilations I have read. Yes, there's a bit at the start of each new section, but not overly so. Hughey delves deeply into PTSD, loneliness, and forgiveness in this book. Yes, it was Sci-fi, but that is certainly not the driving thrust here, just the setting.

This book would have been a 4 or 5 star for me if he had left out the epilogue. It killed the nuance of the choice at the end to know which way things went and made it feel like he was pandering to the reader. Otherwise a very solid story and worth a read.
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- Charlie

Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination

Much like light houses in our current world, in the vase sea of space there are beacons to guide ships along safe passages. Digger is the man who monitors beacon 23; it is a lonely job with minimal contact with others. The problem is, spending that much time with only your dark thoughts as company can break a man, or make him crazy.

First, this is 5 stand alone stories compiled, therefore after listening to the first story all subsequent stories will re-introduce you to information you've already learned, making them a little redundant.

At the beginning I had to rewind a few times because the narrator was so intense that I almost felt overwhelmed and confused, and I was worried I was missing things. I grew to appreciate the intensity and commitment of Ryan McCarthy's interpretation of Digger; the narration was the thing that I enjoyed most about this book.

Since each story should stand alone I would expect it to be more eventful, but I found this omnibus to be anti-climactic. I'd never read a book by Hugh Howey before but I've heard a lot of great things and I was very excited for this book, but at the end I felt unimpressed and underwhelmed.

Conclusion: Very strong narration. Good character development through the first two stories, and some of the third but takes a turn after that. I don't think all of the stories are worth listening to, but I don't think it's a lost cause.
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- Claudia H

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-20-2015
  • Publisher: Broad Reach Publishing