Let me start by saying that “Hugh Howey Lives”, written by Daniel Arthur Smith, had great potential that ended up falling flat for me. If you enjoy deep, well-written, and complex science fiction stories that contain multiple twist and turns in the story, this is not the book for you. There were so many directions the author could have taken the story to made it a more enjoyable science fiction story instead of a more YA romance short story. The book’s narration was expertly done by Patricia Santomasso, and I look forward to hearing other materials from her in the future.
I feel the author had an agenda he wanted to get across to his readers and then he decided to wrapped a story around it. It was rather short at only 114 pages or shy of 3 hours of audio narration, and I felt the author could have turned the book into an epic adventure but instead decided to end it before it was fully developed. At times the agenda seemed pushed and forced more than the story itself; which was a disappointment for me.
I enjoyed the story’s overall concept and felt the idea of the Archive being the source of all written material in the year 2174 by means of an artificial intelligence had me expecting more an Orwelling 1984 message, but as stated earlier the book was more a young adult short romance story with some elements of science fiction added. Artificial intelligence is what caught my interest in the book, but it seemed to be more a background concept. I have enjoyed many of Hugh Howey’s published works, but this book did not do it for me and I did not want to read it because of his name in its title. I do not feel this book is on par with Howey’s works, so if this is what you are expecting I think you will be disappointed.
I did not feel the story placed me that far into the future based on the technology, location, and described objects. The world along with its characters seemed flat and the story often lacked action or excitement found in other books in the genre. It felt more like the episode of Gilligan’s Island when they are taken to the island of a mad scientist and get their brains switched. It was entertaining, but not much more.
With the two main characters of the story being female, I enjoyed the book’s narration being done by Patricia Santomasso. She voices the book’s many characters keeping them unique and distinguishable. Most of the thirty-one books she has narrated on Audible (as of this review) are rated 4-5 stars for her performances; and I would agree. I enjoyed her smooth voice and felt it was a good fit to this story. The audio itself was clear and clean. It contained no noticeable audio artifacts such as volume swings, swallows, etc.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.