The Savants is a suspenseful disaster thriller that will be enjoyed by all members of the family. Patrick Kendrick manages to create a unique modern day thriller having a solid balance of action, suspense, and humor along with enough twists to keep one engaged from start to finish. Scott Ellis does an exceptional job of bringing the audiobook format to life. His narration enhances the already good story to make it a great story when listened too. When I finished with the book, it felt like I had just experienced a modern motion picture event. If you like fast-paced, action-packed, thrillers, I would recommend this book.
I was hooked on the story at the opening chapter by the events occurring which laid the foundation for the remainder of the book. The author did a solid job of bringing the many characters to life, none of them seemed flat. I enjoyed how the author told the various character backstories over various chapters and did not attempt to cover this all at the beginning of the book. The story was told while also properly educating and addressing the issues faced by those with disabilities; namely savants. The author was able to show that every savant had their strengths while also having to overcome many weaknesses. Often these two impacted one another. I did not feel that the author’s use of savants was simply for plot development, but more to bring attention to this people group often ignored by society.
Not only was this story action packed, but it included a fair amount of humor that was not overly used nor was it humor one often finds in other young adult books. It is more situational humor than just silly humor. The story also includes aspects of a political thriller involving intrigue and rogue military action. Think aspects of panic, revolution, and backstabbing that one would expect to occur when the nation is faced with a terrible disaster event. Events quick degrade into a political power-grab.
I felt the author did his research on many of the subjects covered in the book and was able to integrate this knowledge in to the story without being overly technical or complex. The descriptions of the news reporters and press releases were realistic to anyone who has watched these on live TV. The various military machines, weapons, and scientific details were believable, although some of them seemed to be a bit more futuristic than I would assume exist today. If one can simply suspend belief in a few areas, the book is quite enjoyable.
I would like to give the author kudos for writing a book that contains no vulgar language or explicit sexual content. Often such are added to young adult books more for their shock value but this story did not require any because it was so well written and presented. With that said, one of the savants does have an issue similar to tourette syndrome and struggles with using curse words. However, the author describes this disorder and states that the character is struggling to correct this social issue by replacing vulgar words with other words such as “cuss”. So there are a few times in the book where the character will say, “cuss cuss I want cuss to cuss…”, but such is done to inform people on these disorders without having to put vulgar words in the book itself.
What would I change? The story was very focused on the East Coast of America and the tragedy that takes place would have caused an event impacting all countries with shores in the region such as North America and Europe, etc. A wave often does not travel in a single direction, but usually spreads out like ripples when a rock is thrown into a pond. I would have liked to have had some cut scenes that focused on how other countries were dealing with the impending threat. It just seemed very focused on a rather small portion of the world. The second thing would be that the ending seemed rushed for all the book’s setup. The resolution just seemed hurried, however the author did do a decent job of cleaning up all the loose ends. I was just hoping to have more resolution regarding the characters as I came to enjoy their work and wanted more on how or what they did afterwards. Maybe the author is leaving an opening for a future second book, and if so, I would be one to read that one also.
Scott Ellis appears to be a newcomer to audiobook narration role with a total of five books posted on Audible, but his presentation of this book was professionally done and his voice is one I grew to like as it was clear, crisp and fluid in execution. Not only was he able to read the book with passion and good character inflection, the book also included some additional audio effects bringing it to life all the more. It was like taking a 2D movie and making it a 3D movie. The additional audio effects were subtle and in no way take away from the story itself.
A few areas I would have like to have seen improvement around the book’s narration were mostly personal preferences. The recording at the beginning seemed to have a slight echo or reverb, however this was rectified as the book progressed. Mr. Ellis fluently distinguished the many different characters in the book, but I did not prefer the voice of the general. Scott included different character accents and was able to maintain these throughout the book.
It is clear the narrator had a good understanding of the book he was reading and was passionate about the story. He did not simply read the book, instead he was able to bring the book to life. I look forward to more work done by this team in the future.
Disclaimer: This audiobook was provided to the reviewer by the author, narrator, or publisher free of charge in exchange for posting a non-bias review.