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I received a free audiobook from the author in exchange for a honest review. So my comment here would be longer than usual. But my view is not impacted by the gift. And I do like the book.
This book has a somewhat unfortunate name. With Andy Weir's book of very similar name standing at the center of Science Friction and even Hollywood's spotlight lately, it is easy to mistake this book as a cheap rip-off of the same genre. I can assure you that this is not the case. Other than also happening on Mars and paying quite a bit of attention to technical detail, it is a whole different book, with a totally different storyline. (It did mention a Watney Building...brought a smile to my face. Not sure if intentional or not)
Also about the name, having the "Conspiracy" in the title kind of spoiled the story. It led me to think everything protagonist encounters is some sort of conspiracy. It let my imagination run wild at all the possibilities, so was a little disappointed when the conspiracy wasn't as elaborated as I had imagined.
On to the story itself, I think it's pretty good. The world is setting quite convincingly 60 years in the future. Autonomous cars, 3D printing, Hyperloop, drones, VTOL and other hot topics in mid-2010s are commonly seen. Although after a few repeated mentions it does feel a bit too intentional. They also make the book less timeless and clearly show which era when it was written. And...Skype? Really? In 2070s?
The plot itself is interesting. The conflict is quite well defined and explores a world where automation has eliminated the need for some people to have work. The characters have just enough room to demonstrate their own personalities (development, on the other hand, is not quite there. The book is just too short for that. But I'm okay with that)
I was expecting some follow up on the earth part of the story, but the Chekhov's gun still didn't fire towards the end. Turns out a sequel is in the plan. Will look forward reading it.
The audio book version is well produced as well. The narrator (Chris Abell) has just the right tone and speed to keep me engaged along the way.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This was a good twist on your typical story of a conspiracy by rich elites. After reading the summary I thought this book was going to follow the path of so many stories before it, but I ended up being pleased and drawn into the story by the new approach and the interesting sci-fi twist to a classic conspiracy plot.
The story begins with a NASA engineer (John) observing the project that has consumed years of his life, Project Bakersfield, launching into space. He and the rest of the agency are horrified when a freak accident results in it falling back to Earth and causing the most devastating man-made disaster in history. With a huge swath of southern California destroyed, John spends the next year searching for his wife and daughter who are presumed dead after being caught in the middle of the devastation.
Hollowed out emotionally, he is offered an engineering job on Mars that he accepts in an attempt to escape the guilt that plagues him. As one of the main engineers on the planet, he is assigned to coordinate the construction of a massive power generation project. After noticing several irregularities in the project, and a large contingent of military personnel arrive on the planet and begin acting strangely, John and his two friends uncover a potentially deadly plot by the some of the world's richest elites (now living on Mars in a secret, purpose-built paradise complex). To make matters worse, the project he has been working on may be the catalyst for the murder of thousands of Mars colonists.
The narration on this book was also quite good, and I was drawn into the story after the first few hours. I must admit that it was a little slow to start, but if you can get through the initial backstory, then you won't be disappointed.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author, publisher, or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review. I was NOT required to write a positive review and this reflects my honest opinion of the work.
13 of 19 people found this review helpful