Take portions of “Blade Runner”, action from “Aliens” and combine it with a little bit of “Fight Club” and you get a sense of what “Nebula Risen” which is the second book in the Roak Galactic Bounty Hunter series, is all about. This is the latest book released by Jake Bible; a rather prolific science fiction and fantasy author. The audiobook edition is very well narrated by Andrew B. Wehrlen who himself narrates many books in the same genre. What could go wrong when you place one of the most overconfident bounty hunters against one of the most powerful crime syndicates? You get a story full of action, intrigue, unique weapons and technology, along with a story that flows very well from one page to the next. There is a fair amount of humor and secrecy rolled into the story making it one that easily crosses many genres. Even though this is the second book in the series, the story stands alone and does not require previous knowledge of the first. If you are looking for a story that is not only full of combat, but contains a fair amount of defined story, I suggest you pick up “Nebula Rising”.
In a rather crowed literary category, Jake Bible seems to always surprise me by not following the expected story tropes. He adds well-rounded characters, wit, unique items, and mystery; and this book is no exception. When the main character is hired to hunt down a dead man, things get quite interesting and messy. Mr. Bible not only writes words on the page, he is an accomplished storyteller. This is amplified even more via the excellent narration by Mr. Wehrlen. The book’s narration adds the necessary voicing that makes the story feel gritty and rather dark.
The main character has the weight of the universe upon his shoulders because of the high bounty set on his own head for double crossing his employers. I also laughed the many times people would call the main character “Mr. Roak” and he constantly had to remind them that his name was simply “Roak”; like Cher or Sting. One aspect that I found interesting was Roak’s sense of a moral system (often defined in his own way), he did his job to the code and would not compromise for any reason. He often gave others the chance to surrender without using force, but he also had a reputation of severely injuring those who refused.
Not only do you get a well-defined main character, but a somewhat neurotic artificial intelligence (AI) that runs his ship and communicates with him via an embedded device. Being that this is the first book I have listened to in this series, I’m unsure if the mysterious lady in black appears elsewhere. She is still somewhat clouded in mystery and I’m sure she will continue to play a role in future books of the series. I feel the same about the AI. She had a role in this story, but the mystery that surrounds her was not fully addressed in this book. The author created some interesting and unique monsters or creatures that really brought the story to life and kept it new and different.
Let me turn to the book’s narration by Andrew B. Wehrlen. I enjoyed the professional manner the book was read and his voice gave a darker feel to the overall book. The audio itself was clear of any artifacts or issues such as volume inconsistencies, page turns, or swallows. Mr. Wehrlen was able to voice the many different characters while also implementing some additional sound effects into the narration; without overdoing it. Having listened to three titles by Mr. Wehrlen, I know I can expect a professional and high-quality audiobook when picking up one he narrates.
Parents and younger readers take note. Although the story contains some light and witty humor, this book is not intended for younger audiences. It includes some scenes containing graphic violence, mature subject matter (sex, drugs, and alcohol), along with the use of vulgar language. If these are offensive to you, recommend you look for a different book to read or listen too.
In summary, if you enjoy space action books full of mystery, adventure, and humor, I believe you will enjoy Nebula Rising. As stated earlier, the book can be listened as a stand-alone, but I’m sure we will be getting more detail on all those who still has a few open-ended questions needing to be answered. I have yet to be disappointed by a single Jake Bible story, and look forward to more books by this author.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.