If you are looking for a well-written futuristic story filled with action, deception, and a number of plot twists keeping you on the edge of your seat, “Heretic: The Singularity” book 1 of the Singularity series by David Beers and narrated by Sean Patrick Hopkins should fill that void. It is not another feel-good robot story, but more a blending of many other artificial intelligence concepts found in other stories like: The Matrix, Logan’s Run, Terminator, Gattaca and 2001: A space odyssey. Mr. Beers takes the reader on a journey where one man (boy) is discovered to be the savior who is tasked with destroying this malevolent machine and in doing so may destroy the entire world in the process.
I want to make sure Mr. Hopkins gets credit up front in this review for his ability to greatly enhances the book with his haunting narration that is professionally paced, clear, and crisply recorded. He leverages inflection bringing the story to life. He does not simply read the words from the book; he tells its story. I did not observe any audio artifacts while listening, and volume remained consistent as one would expect from a narrator with over fifty other titles on Audible at the time of this review.
The book from its beginning grabbed my attention and quickly sucked me into its bizarre and revolutionary new world where humans now live. Laws have been replaced with protocol enforced by a powerful and artificial intelligence referred to as the Singularity. This machine how controls all aspects of life on the planet. It assigns jobs, decides who lives and who does not, and takes action quickly upon those who do not follow protocol. What mankind created nearly a thousand years earlier as part of an experiment, quickly breaks out of its protective case and soon rules the world. They never thought it would be able to grow at the pace it did and now there was no stopping it.
If you are like me and enjoy a good science fiction (Sci-Fi) story and it is enriched by including aspects of artificial intelligence, you will enjoy this book. If you are newer to the subject of AI, I would recommend reading non-fiction books written by Jeff Hawkins or Calum Chace. Both authors have very different views on AI and the possibility of a singularity like the one in this book. Both are very informative reads if you enjoy the subject.
I enjoyed the author’s use of descriptive story telling because it helped bring me into the book and care about many of the characters. Although some of the characters were more flat than I would have liked, the main characters I thought were well defined and developed by the author. Be aware this is book one in a series, and this book ends somewhat on a cliff hanger which will urge some to wait until the series is completed.
On a similar note, I would not recommend this book for young readers; the author does not claim it is for this age group. For those wondering if their child should or could read it, be aware the book contains a few scenes of graphic violence or events that may not be suitable for younger audiences. I also felt the author’s use of vulgar language was unnecessary and if removed would not change the impact of the story in any way. I would be surprised if modern language such as that would be the same a thousand years into the future. There are also a few subtle references to sex or sexual acts scattered about the book; nothing over the top.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.