“Solitude” is the first book in the Dimension Space series, authored by Dean M. Cole and the Audible narration is performed by two narrators, R.C. Bray and Julia Whelan. If you blend The Martian, Castaway, and an apocalyptic disaster theme into a single book and you get something resembling “Solitude”. It is an emotional rollercoaster ride ultimately focused on survival with enough suspense thrown in to keep you on your toes. If you like detailed stories having space, high action, strong relationships, believable science, human survival, and even a touch of romance; this book is for you. I know it is only the first book in a series, however when I was finished, I simply wanted more. I believe this is a sign of a good book. Is it perfect? No book can claim that title, but it comes close when you place it beside many of the current independent publishers. If the author’s other books (Sector 64) are anything like this one, I will most certainly be listening to them as well. I highly recommend this book to anyone irrespective of their preferred genre, it is a solid and well-defined story that keeps giving.
I had the pleasure of listening to the entire book while on a long road trip and I do not regret it. The only thing I was unhappy about was when it ended; it seemed too short. If you are the type of person who does not like waiting for the next book in a series to be released, you may want to hold off until a few more in the series have been released prior to picking up this one. I will say the book took me a little time to warm up to what was going on. However, once that was accomplished I could immerse myself fully and enjoyed the ride. If you find this to be the case, just give the book some time, you will not regret your decision. I think for me, the difficulty I needed to overcome was the book’s two narrators; one female and one male. At first it seemed to jar me in and out of the story as the narration switched from one to the other; often when a new chapter began. It quickly becomes more natural or expected just like with a Disney movie when you forget the characters are talking toy cars and just enjoy it for the story.
Without going into too much detail as not to provide any spoilers, I enjoyed how the author took the reader between what was happening on the International Space Station (ISS) and the events happening here on earth without losing focus on the other’s issues. The author appears to have researched his subject matter quite well as there were many new terms and words that I looked up for clarification. He explains things well enough that one is not required to have a book on astrophysics present to understand the book, but if you do have one it may help you to appreciate it more. It was written at a high enough level for nearly anyone to enjoy, but had some deep technical and science nuances that just added the icing on top of the cake.
The book can be rather complicated due to the many events happening simultaneously and at times the I struggled to keep up with all the action. This happened infrequently, but I think it speaks to ones need to listen and pay attention to the book; unlike some books letting you multitask while listening. This one you want to take it all in anyways, so I would recommend you allow yourself time to enjoy it. Another issue I had with the book was the male character. He often had what seemed like super human powers and could tackle nearly anything to accomplish his current goal; generate power, fly planes, helicopters, etc. Meanwhile, the female character appeared to be the brains of the operation. More the typical stereotype of brains vs. brawn, but again this was not something that overpowered the story itself. At times, the action sequences also appeared more rushed than I would have liked, but this is more a preference issue. I like to know the actions, events, and way a problem is solved instead of going from point ‘A’ to point ‘G’ without providing all the meat in between. Again, this is more a personal preference and it was my desire to at times to have a deeper story line than was given.
For the younger reader or parent, this book does contain some vulgar language which is often used as a way to express stress or frustration by the characters. In some ways, this usage of language cheapened both of the main characters for me as I would have assumed each would have had a larger vocabulary to draw from then to resort to standard swear words. There are some discussions having sexual overtones, nothing graphic, that may be inappropriate for younger readers. A few points of intense action, but nothing over the top.
The narration was professionally done and somewhat unique having both a male and female narrator for the different roles. The book is not dramatized, just leverages the two narrators for the parts in the book. Often one narrator reads an entire chapter based on where the events take place, but at times they would be communicating with one another so you have both in the same chapter. I will say that I preferred the female narrator’s voice over the male, if I had to choose to have the book narrated by only a single person. That is not to say the male voice was unpleasant, not at all. R.C. Bray has nearly two-hundred and fifty books narrated under his belt and a number of them I own and have enjoyed. The same can be said for Julia Whelan who has nearly two-hundred and forty books narrated. The recording was exceptional and I would expect nothing less from this pair. I did not notice any issues with volume or other audio artifacts while listening to this book. Narration was solid.
In summary, if you are wondering if I would recommend this book to others, let me just say that I’m looking forward to the second in the series! There are many directions this story can go and different avenues the author can take. I also hope the same narrators are able to complete the series as this would just make the series that much better. If you have not already listened to this book, I recommend you do. With the success of “Sector 64” and now “Solitude”, this is an author to keep your eyes on!