Imagine Jack Amato as a older, boring, arrogant Peter Parker who never got bit by a crazy spider and became a super hero. I never really warmed up to Jack and he plays center stage for the entire story. He wants to be an investigative reporter but mostly he has contacts where he wheedles info out of people, through begging or guilt trips. I also simply found him boring. I don’t have to like the main character to find them interesting and get into their story (like in Brave New World, Wuthering Heights, or Breaking Bad).
The main premise of the story held promise. A mysterious meteorite has crashed into the Earth and it has a very fascinating power: it grants immortality to most humans. You can still be murdered or die in an accident and there are a few medical conditions it can’t cure. So initially, there’s the breaking of the story and figuring this out. Then we have the sharing of the meteorite so all can benefit. Finally, what happens to the world if the population greatly increases because birth rates remain the same but death rates greatly drop off. Yet there was very little science and I do love my science in my science fiction. What little science bits were included made me cringe. As a biologist, I felt the author was just tossing some genetics terms in there without really understanding what they meant.
The setting was very one dimensional. This story takes place in the later half of the 21st century. Initially, there’s a few remarks about self-driving cars and other tech but we never have any examples. Honestly, this story could take place in the 1980s since the future tech had no role in this story.
All the decisions are made by male characters. Laura (Jack’s girlfriend) and Jack’s granma are the two recurring female characters. They are there to provide support and not much else. Laura initially has her own life but that is quickly minimized. In fact, there’s a scene where Laura is talking with Jack where she tells him she doesn’t want to be eclipsed by him. That gave me a chuckle because that happened several chapters back.
My favorite parts of the story were all the different ways the US government attempted to keep everyone fed. Some of these were pretty straight forward, like limiting the number of births, while others were more radical (and therefore more interesting). There’s also little snippets about how other countries are handling this unexpected world tragedy. I did feel that the tale left some big ideas out such as what people would grow at home to supplement their diet (anything from veggies to mushrooms to insects).
All together, the story has an interesting underlying backbone but it was clumsily executed. The characters were one dimensional and boring. I wanted more science but would have been satisfied with awesome characters had they been there. The story does leave us on a cliffhanger with possible hope hanging ready for Book 2. 3.5/5 stars.
The Narration: Joseph Kidawski was a good pick for the voice of Jack Amato. He sounds like a corn-fed midwestern reporter and he did a decent job of putting emotion into Jack’s voice. His female character voices were feminine and all his characters were distinct. There were a few times where a sentence or two were repeated. Twice I noticed a slight change in volume. 4/5 stars.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Dan Petrosini. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.