“Rise of the Embodied” is the second book in “The Quantum Mechanic” trilogy series written by Jason Faris. There is only one remaining book in the series needing to be put on Audible completing it. The audiobook edition was narrated by Judy Rounda, who also narrated the first book in the series. The second book is a bit shorter than the first at nearly nine and a half hours of audio compared to fourteen and a half for the first. This book picks up where the first one left off, and I felt the author did a good job of providing prequel information helping those who might have had some time between reading the first book and a refresher is beneficial. I will say that you will want to listen to this book only after listening to the first one; it is a series which continues the action from the first. Overall, I enjoyed the book as its premise is a bit different from others in the genre. It feels new and unique, yet not overly so. If you enjoyed the first book, this one for me was better and more focused, so I would recommend it.
When I look back at the book, it reminds me of a reverse Iron Man where the AI is a part of the person instead of the person being surrounded by a AI powered suit. I enjoyed learning about the many struggles and biases these characters faced having this technology within them. Even though this story mostly focused on the daughter (Jessica), I would have liked to have had additional backstory on the main characters from the first book. There were a few flashbacks that helped give the characters depth and feeling, but I would have liked to have seen more. I wanted to feel their pain, their love, and their friendships more, and I think this would have been accomplished if I had more details about them. This information may come I the last book of the series, I’m unsure. I will say that story maintained the mystery and intrigue found in the first. At times, you were on the edge of your seat waiting to see what would happen.
We have some of the same enemies along with a few newer ones returning from the first book. We are given a view into what I would describe as Transformers or the machines from Pacific Heights. I enjoyed how these machines were introduced and their function. A new aircraft technology was also introduced in this book. There were continued tensions between the United States and China around the technology and their ability to incorporate it into some of their people. What was even more interesting was the question of how a government controls a teenager who has what would equate to super powers while keeping her on your side? There was always a fine line between the embodied and their powers to that of the quantum powers and how the government wanted to maintain control. As we see in this book, revenge is sweet, however, vengeance comes at a price and is often quite destructive.
Even though this book seemed more polished than the first, there are a few things I would have changed. What would the changes be if I were given the ability? For starters, the book seemed at times to throw in technology or technological terms for no reason but to give a science fiction feel. Some of the added sound effects, I thought, were overly used and at times took away from the narration. I do not mind books where sounds are added, but I do not want them to overpower the text. As with the first book, I do not think the use of Biblical test at the beginning of the chapters is needed as these are often used out of context from their original meaning. Even though he is a quantum man, the use of the terms quantum and artificial intelligence seemed to be overly used. I would have liked to have had more detail and backstory to fill in the holes left open after the two books; again, this could be something for the last book in the series to provide. Often the vulgar language used by the characters, for me, did not fit the characters level of intelligence or what I would expect.
When I think back to the book’s narration, I really did not have anything negative to say. Judy Rounda has over twenty audiobooks narrated on Audible; at the time of this review. Nearly all of them positive. It would have been nice to have more inflection during times of intense action or emotional scenes, but that is more a personal feeling. As stated earlier, I thought the sound effects used were good, but overly saturated the book’s narration at times. There were only slight inconsistencies with volume a couple of times, but nothing that takes away from the story. Other than these things, I thought the book was well narrated and I hope she narrates the last book in the series.
For younger readers or parents of such, you will want to think twice before picking up this book. The book contains a heavy amount of vulgar language, some light romance, sexual topics, and some intense graphic violence. If any of this is offensive to you, I recommend you find another book to listen too.
In summary, the second book seemed more polished and developed from the first even though it is shorter in overall audio content. The listener is given a view into some new and exciting equipment along with some additional backstory on the main characters. I felt the use of vulgar language was unnecessary and could have opened the book up to more audiences had it not been used. Once again, if you liked the first book, I would suggest you pick up the second and complete the series once the third is released in Audiobook format.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.