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An interesting concept of post-apocalypse domes and colony spaceships sent out before the collapse of earth, together holding the remnants of humanity. Population is declining and dome failure is imminent. Since FTL ships have been developed it seems that technology has not been lost or forgotten yet no one seems to have been aware of the dome system decline until the last minute. And then there is the fraught political arena within the dome. The plot moves fairly swiftly and a number of surprising and inventive overlapping scenarios are played out as the manned FTL reaches the Colony Ship. This is the first in a series and ends rather abruptly on a bit of a cliffhanger within the whole story arc but the instant tale is resolved. Rather like watching episodes of (name your favorite SF TV show here!) which always have continuing characters with their interactions.
The narrator [AUDIO] does an excellent job of providing a wooden, staccato voice for the AIs and clearly has a blast enacting several of the villains, but the main characters also slip into machine mode a bit too often.
Overall I enjoyed this story and look forward to exploring further with the series.
Disclaimer: "I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."
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Several weeks ago, John Thornton arranged for me to receive a sample audiobook from his collection. Mr Thornton has been very productive. He told me he has produced 18 audio books already (and maybe more by the time of this writing). The book he supplied me with was titled: “Tracking The Trailblazer”. With it, Mr. Thornton starts a project that feels a little like he has created his own private TV show, and that’s probably not far from the truth. He’s established a cast of characters, and a scenario that can play out in stand-alone installments while expanding a larger story line (Earth is ruined. Bio-domes will soon fail and their inhabitants find they are running out of time. A desperate mission sends a man and a woman in a faster than light craft to catch up to a colony ship launched many years earlier. If the team can board the ship, they can assemble a teleporter, and the inhabitants of the bio-dome will be able to escape Earth and start life over on the colony ship, where they could be part of the human race that actually has a future).
The team sent on the mission consists of a man and a woman. What they find when they arrive on the colony ship is not what they expected, and the novel is about their contending with the sudden challenges they face. I don’t want to give away any of the adventure here. It’s a short book.
I’m very limited in my knowledge of Sci-Fi, but my guess is that fans of Larry Niven’s Ringworld and the original Star Trek might like this series, especially if the books stay short. I liked the characters well enough, including a host of individual AI characters. I liked the scenario over-all. I did find some story events that I strongly disagreed with, but that’s the luck of the draw.
A stand out of the project for me was a scene where the two humans meet a security detail of helpful AI. Mr. Thornton does an EXCELLENT job of presenting an AI that appears to want to be helpful, who appears to offer helpful suggestions, but who is never moved one iota from the agenda it wants the humans to comply with. The exchange came across as completely authentic and strangely chilling. I didn’t know how the characters could possibly advance past the security detail, and I was tense while I listened.
The voice artist is Sylvia St. James and she gives a complete and full effort - her performance offers good basic reading, occasional accents, (including robotic AI) and impassioned delivery - though sometimes a little too impassioned for my tastes, (She seems like a pro. I wouldn’t be surprised if she adjusts as the series continues).
I have pros and cons about this novel, but with 18 audiobooks under his belt and with a new franchise starting, Mr. Thornton is absolutely getting things done. If you are in the mood for some light sci-fi, consider giving the series a read.
-- Rik Ty
John Thornton's Colony Ship world centres around seven ships sent from earth over an hundred years previous when it became obvious the the earth itself was dying. The ships, hopefully, would eventually find new homes for the colonists who, meanwhile, were given habitats within which to live out their generational lifetimes. For those left behind on earth, comes were built to protect them from the ever more toxic and radiation laden atmosphere. But the domes have been dying and only one is now known to survive: Dome 17.
With news that even this Dome is doomed to fail in a few months, a plan is formed - to send out two people teams, one to each of the seven Colony Ships, to see if one would be a suitable home to take the Dome 17 survivors, a plan made possible only because of technology developed since the launching of the ships.
Tracking the Trailblazer is the first of the books about one of these attempts to find the new home. As with each of the other series books, the first section is dedicated to explaining the situation and introducing the couple who will be embarking on the perilous journey. But this time it is different, with more discord and sinister undertones which makes all far more intriguing especially for anyone who has followed the Vanguard and Eschaton attempts, and the two main protagonists, Ken and Janae, are also unusual in that they do not have the close friendship of the earlier adventurers. For this reader, this was the most interesting of the series world so far.
Unfortunately, although her voice is clear and seemed to fit with the female character portrayed, narrator Sylvia At. James read with little expression: excellent when portraying the computers but not so good for humans. Janae especially sounded robotic when not throwing emotional fits. There is an excellent production section, however, some three quarters of the way into the book, in which an event is given with full crowd soundings as well as a distant announcer to the masses. Sadly, this is an isolated event.
Overall, a good S.F. adventure with a very intriguing subplot, not all of which is fully explained, and with reasonable characterisation for the two main protagonists. I have already purchased book two. But if new to the Colony Ship world, do not start with the Trailblazer - try, instead, Finding the Vanguard.
I liked the description of this book and thought I'll give it ago. I have to admit that the characters really annoyed me at the beginning but I liked them more towards the end. They changed in how they talked and acted to each other towards the end, but I liked them more for it.
There is a few twists and turns and I kept wondering what is going to happen next. There was enough mystery and suspense there to keep you listening/reading the book. It ends on a sort of cliffhanger. I am hoping the author has a book two coming out soon. I want to know what is going to happen to the characters now that they know things they didn't before. My one negative is we don't really know why ken picked that paricular ship. Even Jen questioned it yet we don't get an answer. It was one of those things that stayed with me after I finished listening to the audio book.
There is violence, no sex scenes but there was a lot of innuendos.
I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.