Rath’s Deception: The Janus Group, Book 1 (Audiobook)

Let me start by saying this book was almost a “Did Not Finish” (DNF) for me.  But, as I continued to listen to the story it improved quite a bit during the second half.  It was like a good cheese that takes time to get better with age.  “Rath’s Deception” is the first book in the “Janus Group” series written by Piers Platt; a New York Times best seller.  The series, at the time of this review, consists of six titles published on Audible.  If you found that you enjoyed this book there are plenty more available afterwards.  All the current audiobooks are narrated by the same narrator; James Fouhey.  Overall I enjoyed the narration, if I had one complaint I would say it was paced a bit slower than I like; I know this is very subjective.

If you enjoy science fiction that has a feel of Blade Runner with a mix of a detective story woven in, you may enjoy this series.  I felt it had a few twists and turns that I would not have expected and of the main characters were believable, and in most cases likeable.  There was travel to distant worlds and where our main character, along with others in the group, were required to fulfill their obligations often meaning they had to assassinate one or more individuals.  Once they completed their assigned duties, they would be set free to live out their lives.

The first half of the book seemed more Young Adult (YA) focused whereas the second half appeared to have more depth and plot and the writing itself seemed to improve.  I’m not sure if that was intentional on the author’s part because the first half was when the main character was younger.  If you expected this younger writing style, it should not be a surprise.  However, I did not and I think this is what turned me off at first.  It is hard to describe, but the first half of the book seemed like it was written by a high school student.  The conversations often included heavy use of vulgar language and this was throughout the book.  I did not get the sense that this was because of the character’s surroundings; every one of the characters spoke this way.  Vulgar language was used for no other reason than to fill in sentences and make the characters appear cool.  For me it had the opposite effect.

If you can get over the rough start the book has a decent premise and I began to care more for the characters along with the buildup of more suspenseful moments or events, later in the book.  I will say that because of the language and strong graphic violence, this book would not be recommended for younger audiences.  As the publisher’s summary says, this is about someone forced into a criminal gang where contract killing is the requirements of all involved.

Apart from the slow pace, I thought James Fouhey did a good job narrating the book.  He tells the story in a way that was believable.  As stated earlier, it was read a bit slower than I often like when listening to an audiobook, but this can be corrected by adjusting the audio speed; to a point.  There were a few times I was not sure, because it happened quickly, I thought the narrator pronounced the main character’s name incorrectly; however, it may have been the speed I was listening to the book at.  The audio itself seemed very clean and crisp lacking any noticeable audio artifacts.  The narrator has quite a few other books on Audible and many have received high marks.  Maybe someone to watch.

In summary, although it is said to be more a piece of science fiction, for me it fell a bit flat and seemed more like a detective story with science fiction elements.  If this is your thing, and you do not mind the heavy use of language, you may want to pick this one up.

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